One of the many rooms that compose The Dungeon.

In the basement of Kemper Hall (formerly known to much of the staff and some upperclassmen as EU II) lies the Computer Science Instructional Facility (CSIF), commonly referred to as The Dungeon. It consists of rooms 67, 71, and 75. All Computer Science and CSE majors, as well as anyone taking a CS class, get a login for the CSIF computers. Most every reasonable CS class in UC Davis that accepts programs for homework will require them to compile on CSIF computers, because they'll most likely be graded from there.

If you want to avoid the dungeon to the greatest extent possible, install Linux on your machine. You can SSH into the CSIF computers through Terminal if you run an Apple operating system. For Windows, you will need PuTTY.

The computers that make up the CSIF are named * There are 67 Linux/Intel PCs running Ubuntu, named where N ranges from 1 to 60.  They can be SSHed into from anywhere, even off campus, a viable solution for those who want to work at home and are not bothered by latency. If you want to remote in from home, this quick and dirty shell script will find the machine with the lowest load and log you in to that one. The machines cover a fair range of speeds and manufacturers. The far south lab, room 67, contains two iMacs with decent graphics cards for graphics work although used to contain a bunch of HPUX machines. CSIF received a glut of Dell flatscreen monitors sometime in 2006, and as of now, 67 contains two iMacs and many Dells, while each station in 71 and 75 is dual headed with a large Asus monitor and a smaller Dell monitor.

At a time now past, the labs were populated with a wider variety of hardware, with DEC Ultrix DECstations, HP-UX and SGI MIPS workstations represented.

The place is very very slow to toss things out. This box of old junk was sitting down here for god knows how long..

Most accounts on the CSIF servers are limited to a 50 100 meg quota, though taking certain classes like ECS175 will get you a quota boost for that quarter only. The low disk quota is the cause of about 90% of the questions to CSIF support, because when you try to login after exceeding quota you're just met with a cryptic error message.

One rationale for the low quota is the heavy backups made for CSIF accounts. Type 'cd .snapshot' in any directory and you'll see hourly, daily, and weekly backups for its files. This is handy if you've accidentally deleted something, or you just want to use it as extremely primitive version control.

A login for CSIF gives students 200 pages of printing in this lab separate from the campus 100 90 30 (budget cuts) page quota. CS and CSE students are often found coming to the labs to print toward the end of the quarter when their campus quota is exceeded. At one point in time, your CSIF print quota would actually increase as you printed.

The printer room has become a transient resting place for old textbooks. Books are randomly deposited, only to be rummaged through by the CS student populace. There are some decent books, such as an older edition of the MINIX text (sometimes used in ECS 150), a treatise by Knuth complete with a picture of Knuth on a horse, various MATLAB texts, etc. For those who don't feel like working on programming, there is a book of ancient Japanese poetry in room 71.

There's currently a web page hosting CSIF news, updated sporadically if at all. The page is wiki-esque, but editable by CSIF employees. There is also a page where you can see what the load averages are for most computers that make up the CSIF net (some are secret!).

A series of fancy photo prints now adorn all CSIF labs, giving the inhabitants a pleasant view of places they are not currently at. The photos range from a Mercator projection world map, to a large shark, to an image of the desert. 

The CSIF is administered by CSIF Support.

CSIF - where happiness goes to die. 


You must be logged in to comment on this page. Please log in.

this page is in need of correction by someone who currently works in/uses the CSIF labs. delete this comment if it ever gets done.TravisGrathwell

2009-06-07 08:19:09   Lately the computer rooms in the dungeon smells like pesticide. What's with that? —AndrewPotter

  • Gone now. It seems that they sprayed the whole building that day. —TR

2010-03-04 16:10:59   Whoa, I have 200 pages of printing I did not know about? —hankim

The print quota used to go backwards on occasion.... i.e. the more you printed, the larger your quota got. Fun times. —WilliamLewis

  • Cannot be a coincidence that it happened in the computer science department. —hankim

2010-03-04 22:17:37   Wow. Is that a 1200 baud modem?! —IDoNotExist