In case you hadn't heard, CMU is a very computer oriented school. If your field is cognitive or neural modelling then the importance of this section should be obvious. If your field is social or developmental you will be using computers at least for communicating by e-mail, word processing and data analysis if not for modelling or data collection so this section is important to you also. As in all things, if you don't know how to do something that you think a computer should be able to do, don't be afraid to ask.

Psychology Facilities

We have a support team (appropriately named "Support") whose job is to keep the psychology computers functioning. The population of the support team keeps changing, but consists of a couple of full-time people and some undergraduate work-study students. Many of the CNBC machines are tended by Chad Dawson, the CNBC's computational guru, and the CNBC students. If you are in the CNBC and have problems with your machine, your fastest bet may be to talk to one of the older students.

All grad students in our department have a computer on their desks for most routine work. The computers include Macintoshes, Wintel machines (PC clones) and X-terminals. The kind of machine you get will depend on the type of work you do. There are other machines owned by the department which are considered "public" because anyone in the department may sign up to use them. We also have many of our own laser printers.

In addition, there is a distributed computing environment called Andrew, to which many workstations in the department are connected. This provides many useful research and computing tools, as well as more than a few games. Andrew also has thousands of bulletin boards, which you can devote your entire life to reading. Of course if you want to get out of here with anything besides a dishonorable discharge you probably want to limit your b-board reading to some subset of the b-boards available on Andrew.


The CNBC machines are backed up by Chad Dawson. Support may now be backing up many, and maybe even all, of the Wintel and Mac machines; but it's worth checking to be sure.

Other Computer Facilities

Computer Accounts

All students have an account on the Andrew system. You may have other accounts as a result of your research and affiliations. For instance, CNBC students have accounts on eagle (

Network Communications

The computers on campus are fully networked, and it is possible to transfer information between virtually any pair of machines without using physical media such as tapes or floppy disks.


You should check your email at least once a day. Email is oftentimes the easiest way to contact busy people. Everyone has an account on andrew, and you can always get email to someone by sending mail to "firstname.lastname" at Andrew.

If you have accounts elsewhere, we really recommend that you have all of your accounts forward your mail to one place; this means you don't have to spend a lot of time checking mail on different systems, and that people who are trying to contact you don't have to worry about sending mail to the right address.

Unfortunately, not all of the faculty are as enlightened about email as the students are. If you're in the CNBC, you might as well assume that all of the faculty have their email downloaded into their hippocampi every three seconds; in some parts of the Cognitive division, the response time is approximately as good. But other faculty members just never think to read or send it. It's probably a good idea to ask your advisor and your committee members how often they read, and respond, to their email.

You can access the CMU computers with a modem. Check with University Computing for the current modem numbers.

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