April 2016

Department Policy Updates / Reminders 

The Operations Committee comprises faculty, staff, and students.  It is responsible for discussing, setting, and proposing policies related to the IT and Building Operations of the Computer Science Department.   Here are some highlights from the most recent meeting.

Building and Room Access Updates

  • Conference rooms 156, 256, 358, 109 & 2125 will soon be accessible 24/7 to CS PhD candidates.  MS-RA/GA/TA students may receive this access as well if requested by a faculty member.  Conference Room 209 will also become available once changes to the door-access mechanism have been completed.  These rooms should be scheduled using the department Google Calendar.  A priority list for use can be found in the FAQ.

  • Current building hours are 8am - 8pm M-F.  Access to the new CS Building for registered CS majors will be extended to 10pm M-F beginning in this Fall.

  • All appointed graduate students can get 24x7 access to the building and respective labs (upon faculty request).

  • MS Students taking project courses such as CSE 523 or CSE 524 may be granted 24/7 access to a research lab at the request of the faculty member.  Exterior and atrium door access will continue to follow normal building hours (or until 10pm) due to liability issues and campus police instructions.

  • Shower (room 356) will be accessible 24/7 by all faculty and staff members once it is available.  ETA early May.  Access for students will be determined at a later date.

Wireless Networks - While preparing the new building, the department invested in an enterprise-class wireless network system, and created the CS_Labs wireless network to extend it’s use to all research labs in the department.  The new department WiFi infrastructure is high speed, high security, robust, and offers very good coverage (e.g., it’s far superior to any single WiFi hotspot). At that time we also implemented a policy to help deal with the uncontrolled proliferation of individual wireless networks throughout our buildings.  The policy intent was that individual wireless access points and networks not be used unless absolutely necessary (e.g., research into wireless networks), and if so, they should be set up in cooperation with the System Staff.  We have been noticing a growing number of individual wireless networks lately.  If you are using one, we would like to meet with you and see if there is a way that the department’s system can meet your needs (many faculty have already removed their older WiFi networks and use the department’s infrastructure happily).  


Thermostats - There have been many questions about the thermostats which appear throughout the new CS Building.  The heating and cooling system in the building, with the exception of the machine rooms, is fully controlled by the Campus Operations group according to their policies.  The ability to adjust individual room temperature from the thermostat unit is not enabled; we have little insight and no control over these campus-wide policies.  These units are acting as simple sensors for the building’s heating and cooling system.  The department will be reaching out to Campus Operations to attempt to get the ability for room occupants to have some control over the temperature (at best this may allow us to control the temperatures in a “zone” comprising several adjacent rooms).  Stay tuned.

Lighting Controls - Our building was designed to be energy efficient and received a Silver level certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Most offices and labs in the new CS building have sophisticated energy saving features integrated with the lighting system.  This has caused some confusion about how to control the lights.  Basically, the system detects the amount of light that comes in through the windows and automatically dims the lights based on an algorithm in the system.  This feature is called “Daylight Harvesting” and is designed to save power, while allowing room occupants some control over lighting.  For more detailed information please download the Lighting Control FAQ.

Room Reservations & Calendars - In the department’s Google Calendar, the names of conference rooms and teaching rooms have been changed to include the number of seats in each room.  This is intended to make it easier to select appropriate sized rooms while reserving them.  A more detailed list of room capabilities can be found in this FAQ.  Instructions for reserving rooms in Google Calendar can be found in this FAQ.


Did You Know that the System Staff can help you with...? Upcoming

Purchasing  Preparing and getting large (and small) purchases through the State Purchasing system can be difficult and confusing process.  The System Staff has considerable experience with this process and can help you, even if it’s not for IT-related items.  Our experience can help you get the most out of your funds, ensure that nothing is missed, and help speed up the installation and use of that equipment once it arrives. Just contact kenatcs.stonybrook.edu (Ken) or prulandatcs.stonybrook.edu (Pete) for help.

Systems Support  The System Staff can help with almost any type of computing or network related issues.  We support all recent versions of Windows, Mac, Linux and some UNIX; in most cases there are a number of different people who can help you with each.

Building Issues  The Systems Staff should be your first stop for any building-related issues, including heating & cooling, room & building access, furniture, lighting, and much more.  You can report issues or ask questions through the RT system just like any systems-related issue.

Security  DoIT is conducting an on-going IT security audit which involves external scans of all campus networks, including the CS networks.  They have been sharing with us the vulnerabilities they have found so far.  We will be working with them to revise our basic security guidelines for the department infrastructure and labs.  These guidelines will include minimum list of security requirements and suggested best-practices.

Poster/Info Areas  Plans are underway for poster display cases to be installed near each lab to help promote the work being done.  These cases will be located in an atrium space on each floor; the cases will be locked and enclosed so that they are not used as advertisement boards by passersby.  Likewise, areas to post information outside faculty and staff offices will be added to allow sharing and posting of information.

Dept. Info Area The Intranet area of the CS web site will be redesigned this summer to make it easier to find information about our department’s resources, policies, and procedures, as well as a lot of technical information about how to use our systems.  



  • The best way to reach the System Staff is through RT.  You can just send an e-mail to rtatcs.stonybrook.edu with a description of your problem.  Using RT has several benefits for you.  

    • Centralized tickets allows the team to track your issue through to completion (how long it’s been open, how long it’s been since an update, etc…)

    • Allows us to prioritize issues better if everyone knows about all the issues.

    • Ensure continuity, so that someone else can pick up the ticket if the person who normally would handle it is unavailable.

    • Provides historical information about recurring problems.