House Rules

House Rules

The Department of Computer Science at Duke University supports a community of faculty, staff, students and scholars who are privileged to share access to an outstanding LSRC facility with state-of-the-art computer resources. As part of this community, we also share in the responsibility for taking care of it and making it a safe, pleasant environment for all. These guidelines are designed to insure that we get the best use of our space over the long run. They are intended to help newcomers learn the ropes as well as to affirm the standards by which members of the community are governed.


Information Email Aliases

department at includes all CSers with offices in LSRC and North. It does not include undergraduates.

globaldepartment at includes "department" and some additional faculty. It does not include undergraduates.

announce at is a moderated list that includes "department" and outside interested parties (This list is appropriate for Ph.D. defenses and all Department colloquia)


Help Facilities

request at cs.duke.eduFor all computer-related issues.
You may also visit

house at for building-related problems



As a member of the Department, you have access to an extensive collection of high-tech resources to support your department related activities. If you would like to use equipment, but you haven't been specifically instructed in its proper use, PLEASE ASK SOMEONE FOR ASSISTANCE. If you notice damage to any equipment or experience equipment failure, please report it immediately by sending e-mail to "problem". Do not attempt to fix it, powercycle it, or reboot it yourself. In the case of computing equipment, this cannot be emphasized enough! No equipment is to be moved without the approval of the technical staff. Equipment throughout the facility is wired to a security system so care should be taken not to catch the wires and set off the alarm. Please note that the machine rooms are off-limits to all but authorized personnel.


House Security

Keys and magnetic cards to the building are your responsibility as well as your privilege. Don't lend them to anyone. Also, don't allow anyone to enter the building "with you" unless they are authorized to use the Departmental facilities. If you see someone unfamiliar in the building outside of office hours, please ask them politely if you can help them and notify Public Safety (dial 911 for the Duke Police Station) in case of a potential or actual problem. Don't prop doors open; if you see a prop, remove it, and if you see a door that should be locked, lock it, etc. Windows on ground level should be closed at night. If you use a key to open a locked facility, you assume responsibility for that facility. Be sure the door stays locked when you leave. Unfortunately, we are very vulnerable to theft!


Misuse of Department Resources

The Department's most valuable asset is a fully functional computing environment. This means that the systems are up, data is safe, e-mail to distant colleagues is reliable, and applications work as expected. The system administrators will make every effort to ensure that reliable computing systems are available to our users at all times. However, there are tools and methods available that allow unscrupulous individuals to misuse our computing systems, putting at risk the availability and the reliability of Department resources. It is the responsibility of all users to protect their own accounts, and to inform the system administrators of any suspicious activity on the Department's computers. Misuse of the Department computing resources may lead to the revocation of your access privileges. In the event that illegal activity occurs, the proper law enforcement agencies will be informed.


Browsing Personal Files

Files belonging to others should not be assumed to be open to general browsing, even if they are unprotected. It is considered an invasion of privacy to browse through a person's files without asking permission. It is permissible to read files meant for public access (such as those in the ftp directory).


Account Sharing

Any person with a valid reason for having an account on the Department computing environment will be provided with one. Accounts are available to Department faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduates with CPS as their first major, and faculty-sponsored guests, such as post docs and visiting scholars. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should any user allow any other person to use his or her account. Such unauthorized use severely undermines the security of our system and is considered a serious infraction. Violators will be placed before the Lab Committee for judgment and the sentence will be carried out swiftly.


Interfering with Others

Interfering with some else's access to the computing facilities is disrespectful and will not be tolerated. Attempting to gain unauthorized access to computer or network systems inside or outside of the Department is not allowed.


Proper Use

Use of your C.S. account and of C.S. facilities should be restricted to the purposes for which the account was granted. For example, if the account was issued for activities related to a particular course (student, UTA, etc.), then the account should only be used for those activities. Any other uses are not allowed. Commercial use of C.S. computing facilities is not permitted without the prior written permission of the Department Chair.


Cleaning Up

Please clean up after yourself, especially (but not exclusively) the kitchen and the copy areas. Please do not let trash accumulate in your office, particularly food and drink products, since this will attract unwanted pests. Feel free to volunteer to help clean up after social events in the Department. Please note that eating and drinking in the public machine rooms is prohibited.



Please ask a staff member for necessary supplies. Don't lend or give away items. Our supply budget is limited and must be used wisely. Supplies are provided to graduate students ONLY for the support of their research and TA duties and to undergraduates in support of their UTA duties. All students are responsible for providing their own supplies for their course work.



The secretarial staff and occasional part-time staff are available to faculty for departmental copying provided a reasonable amount of time is given for the job. Whenever possible, TAs should be used to copy course materials.

Personal copying, including that done for a student's course work, is the responsibility of the person copying. The Department provides copy account codes to faculty, staff and students to support research, administrative activities and teaching. These codes can be obtained through Kathleen Williams (D128). We ask that you keep personal copying to a minimum and that you reimburse the Department at a rate of $.05 per copy. Copier problems should be reported to Kathleen immediately.

Large volumes of class notes, exams, or other large jobs should not be done on our copiers. Staff and TAs will coordinate sending this type job to the University Publications Center. Please coordinate any rush jobs with outside copy centers with a staff member beforehand, as the paperwork involved is tricky.



All printing generated by students in undergraduate CPS courses and all large print jobs should be directed to network printer locations specified by lab staff. Large print jobs should be avoided during the day when the demand for printer time is high. When you send a large job to a Department printer, be sure to monitor the printing so it does not cause undue delays for others. Additionally, do not use laser printers when a copier can be used; duplicating with a copier is a lot cheaper.

Laser printers give high-quality output on regular or legal-sized paper. When using the printers, please be considerate and add paper as needed or send an e-mail to "problem" if there is no paper. Output should be picked up as soon as possible after printing. Output left for more than three days will be recycled.

In an effort to make people aware of the amount of printing that occurs in the department each month, a page of the monthly printer statistics has been created. This page dynamically shows the printer usage for the public printers as well as a list of the "Top 10" printer users for the current month. This list is not intended to be a criticism of the individuals appearing on it, but is intended to foster a greater awareness of the amount of printing that occurs in the department each month.


Telephone Calls

Duke policy discourages the use of the University telephone system for personal calls. Please do your best to minimize such calls. Use a long distance service such as Sprint or MCI for personal non-local calls. Additionally, students can set up SAC accounts through Tel-Com for making long-distance calls.

Phones in student offices are restricted to local calls. Arrangements can be made through the administrative staff for authorization to make research-related or Department-related long distance calls.

Faculty and staff should use Voice Mail for messages in order to offload that responsibility from the Department receptionist.


Mail Runs

Mail will go out twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. Only work-related mail should be charged to the Department. While personal stamped mail can be left in the outbox for pickup, all personal non-stamped mail will be returned to sender.


Lectures and Visitors

CPS conference rooms can be reserved for meetings, classes, talks, and study groups. Send your request schedule at and the Department's receptionist.


Out-of-Office Hours

Faculty members should let a staff person know when they will be out of the office for an extended period so that inquiries can be handled intelligently. Official policies regarding trips and Departmental notification are discussed in the Departmental Bylaws.


Refrigerators and Coffee

The kitchenettes on each LSRC floor are available to faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate majors. Please clean up after yourself. The refrigerators will be cleaned periodically. All items without names on them will be thrown away. Even though the North Building doesn't have a kitchenette, residents need to store food properly and clean up after using the microwave in order to avoid mice and bugs.

Coffee and tea are available for faculty, students and staff; creamers and sugar are usually available.



Smoking is prohibited inside all Department space. Smoking outside should be restricted to designated areas.



Bicycles and other forms of mechanical transportation are strictly prohibited in departmental space, with the exception of Room 020 in the basement of North Building and the corridor leading from there to the door. Room 020 will be kept locked. Bicycle racks are available outside the front entrance to our LSRC space. According to Duke policy, the Department is not responsible for loss in the case of theft. Personnel who are concerned about theft are encouraged to insure their bikes.


Wall Decorations

For LSRC space, special picture hangers and nails, made by Fleurat in Germany , should be used to hang items on office walls. They are available by sending e-mail to "house". No other types of picture hangers or nails should be used. Under NO circumstances should tape or tacks be used to attach things to walls or wooden or metal surfaces; only Fleurat nails are allowed. Bulletin boards are provided in each office and in the hallways to tack things on to.



Pets are not permitted in the building, with the exception of fish and carnivorous plants.



Everyone is encouraged to recycle. Please deposit recyclable materials in the bins provided on each floor, rather than throwing them in the wastebasket.


Observing the Rights of Others

The Department runs a number of facilities available to a large community of users. Our community is comprised of males and females of many ethnic backgrounds. Every member of our community is expected to respect the rights of others at all times. Please refrain from the open display of materials or expression of speech that may be found offensive or disruptive. Duke University has a clearly stated harassment policy designed to protect individuals while respecting our rights to freely and vigorously discuss ideas and issues. Please consult Duke's Human Resource web pages for details.

Thank you for your cooperation in adhering to these guidelines. Please use them to help the staff help you, and feel free to contact house with any questions or suggestions.