Getting Started: Grad Students
This page is for CSAIL graduate students and postdocs to quickly get an overview of what services are available and how to get them, as well as recommended computing best practices.
Accounts MIT and CSAIL both have their own user accounts. Most CSAIL users will need both.
Access to just about everything TIG has to offer is granted via your CSAIL Kerberos name and password. You can obtain a user account, and optionally a CSAIL email account, by filling out the application form: Request an account here. You will need to provide your research group, supervisor, and type of appointment, as well as a working (existing) email address such as GMail or mit.edu.
Graduate student and postdoc CSAIL accounts are set up to expire automatically every July 1. Your supervisor will need to renew it each year.
Your MIT account will provide you access to all MIT’s services, software, and Atlas (a single online gateway for administrative systems.) Your MIT Kerberos account is sometimes referred to as an Athena or email account. Sign up using the MIT Kerberos account registration page.
MIT Certificates are a safe, optional way for MIT web applications to identify you without you needing to type in a username and password.
See Accounts and Authentication for more info about accounts
CSAIL Website Profile
One of the most common tasks all new and existing CSAIL members have is getting their public profile on the CSAIL web site and up to date with biographical and bibliographical content. See this page on how to get started.
- You will need MIT certificates for Atlas, WebSIS (course registration), licensed software downloads, some library databases, and many other Institute-wide applications.
- TIG supports the use of all major desktop and mobile mail clients with CSAIL email.
- TIG recommends using Thunderbird, which is available for all TIG-supported computing platforms.
- Webmail: You can access your email from anywhere, without the use of an application, by visiting CSAIL’s Horde webmail.
- Email Filters: CSAIL mail provides optional mail filtering and rules. All Email filters and rules should be set in webmail. Avoid setting filters and rules directly on your email client because these will only operate when your client is actually running.
- If your email is forwarded to MIT’s mail system, we have no ability to provide email support. Please see MIT IS&T.
See Email and Communicating for more info
Slack is a popular messaging and collaboration platform. MIT provides Slack Enterprise Grid, a messaging and collaboration tool for teams, groups and individuals. With Slack Enterprise Grid, MIT faculty, students, and staff are eligible to create Slack workspaces and all members of the extended MIT community are eligible to participate in MIT’s Slack workspaces.
- All users who wish to print from a wireless network connection must use the “CSAILPrivate” wireless network. If you are connected via Ethernet you don’t need to do anything special.
- For larger print jobs we recommend using one of the Xerox WorkCentre 7970’s, such as xeroxhq or xerox3
See Printing, Copiers, and Scanning for more info
TIG and MIT provides data storage in many forms: the AFS and NFS network file systems, Ceph object and block storage system, as well as MIT Dropbox for Business. Together, these services comprise over 1PB of local data, much of which is backed up using enterprise backup hardware and software, and rotated through off-site storage facilities for disaster recovery.
- Avoid saving files locally to your computer
- Using Cloud / Network storage:
- Maximizes collaboration
- Provides a robust and automatic backup solution
- Can allow for access across multiple devices
See Data Storage for more info
If you need your own workstation or physical server, we encourage you to consult with TIG before committing to a purchasing decision. Budget and approval is entirely up to your groups’ administrators and supervisors.
See Hardware for more info
TIG provides support, installation, and troubleshooting of Windows, MacOS, and CSAIL Ubuntu, and well as most MIT provided business applications. Some MIT business applications such as SAPgui and MIT Mail, for example, we can only provide our best effort support as we do not have administrative control or access to these applications.
By far, the most common operating systems in use at CSAIL are CSAIL Ubuntu, Microsoft Windows, and Apple macOS. We provide some level of support for each of these platforms.
For pre-configured Windows, Mac, and Linux machines available for Lab use, see:
IS&T offers a wide range of free software applications for the MIT community:
- Never leave your laptop unattended
- If you need to leave your laptop, make sure it is behind both a locked drawer and a locked office.
- Make sure your laptop has a login password set, and is set to lock when closed or idle.
- If you have a Mac, enable “Find My Mac”.
- Don’t remove the TIG account.
- Get a STOP tag and your laptop registered.
- LastPass: use LastPass for saving your passwords. Download IS&T’s licensed, enterprise version.
- Avoid using the same password twice (e.g., across multiple user accounts and / or software systems).
- Use a minimum password length of 12 to 14 characters if permitted.
- Generate passwords randomly where feasible.
- If you think a password may be compromised, you should contact us and change that password ASAP. Also change any system that has the same password.
Phishing is a ploy to get you to click on bogus links or disclose your username and password, giving attackers a way to capture sensitive data, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. Learn about the latest attacks. Don’t ever answer requests for passwords via email or telephone. Neither TIG nor IS&T will ever ask for your password in an email.
If you think you might have responded to a phishing attempt, change your passwords ASAP and contact us.
Learn more about phishing at MIT and CSAIL.
Accessories and Equipment Loaning
TIG has a variety of equipment available for short-term loans, including projectors, laptops, and conference phones. These items can be reserved and booked in advance. Some smaller equipment items, such as adapters and cables, are loan or given out by TIG on a first-come first-serve basis. You must visit TIG for these items.
Please visit the TIG Equipment System, “quip” to browse and reserve, or come to [TIG in 32-270] and we may have it!
Technical Information for Grant Proposals
In some in a grant or contract proposals, sponsors require information on technical / computing infrastructure specifications at CSAIL. This summary provides that information.
TIG is a resource for all your computing and facility related needs. Contact us to report everything from a broken door handle to a problem with a server or email. We encourage any feedback, and welcome all to stop in room 270 any time and meet the TIG staff.
- TIG is available Mon–Fri, 9 AM–6 PM US/Eastern Time
If you would like to open a support case regarding Computing or Facilities related issues, sending an email to the address below will create a trouble tracking ticket in which we will promptly respond to.
Come visit us on the second floor of the Stata Center, in 32-270. We’d be happy to see you.
You can also reach us by phone. You can leave a voice mail if we are unavailable.
When leaving an off-hour message via voicemail you may be waking up an uncaffeinated sysadmin. Reserve off-hour voicemails for emergencies only.