The overarching policy governing computing and networking at the University of Washington is the University's Appropriate Use of UW Resources. Whether you are using University resources (ie. a lab in Mary Gates Hall, for example), or resources in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, the University's policies still apply.

Closer to home, we do have policies and guidelines that are specific to the School and its computing resources.

Using CSE Computer Labs

The instructional labs are for use by all CSE students, and for non-majors taking specific CSE courses. We ask that when you are working in the labs, you should keep these guidelines in mind:

  1. Be aware of your behavior.
  2. The labs are an academic community.
  3. We are responsible for our lab community.
  4. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would be treated.

E-mail Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

Your UW and CSE e-mail accounts are made available solely for the purpose of facilitating effective business operations.

There are specific legal restrictions on the use of e-mail by UW faculty and staff using UW equipment.

Network Monitoring

Some network monitoring is conducted by IT staff in the conduct of their weekly business.

That said, we are not in the business of monitoring what any one individual is doing, unless directed by law or UW policy to do so. The sole motivation for network monitoring is operational; load balancing issues, unexpected traffic patterns, detecting and resolving issues arising from internal or external attacks, responding to complaints of alleged copyright infringement and/or network abuse, and so on.

World Wide Web

Web Crawler Policy

Web crawlers are useful tools, but they can wreak havoc if misconfigured or allowed to run out of control. Please read and follow our web crawler guidelines before you start crawling.

Web Privacy

We collect logs of all requests made to our web servers. We do not share them outside the School, but they are available to those in the School.

We do not sell, rent, loan, trade, or lease any personal information collected at our site, including membership forms and e-mail lists.

HTTP cookies are used in two main ways on our site:

  1. Authentication of local users via "CSENetID".
  2. Various administrative web tools, such as our spam quarantine and faculty recruiting tools, use cookies to save user preferences.

School Equipment and Accounts Policies

Account Security

Under no circumstances should you share your account access or personal login credentials or password with anyone. Similarly, you should not store plaintext credentials for accounts you have elsewhere in your CSE account (e.g. .netrc files). Instead use a recognized password management application that uses strong encryption of credential material. Your research or instructional home directory may not be group or world writable, or world readable in the case of instructional home directories.

Dual Booting

Dual-booting - installing multiple operating systems on a single machine, and allowing the user to select, at boot, which operating system to run - is not supported by the CSL/School. Dual-booting a lab-administered Linux or domain-joined Windows machine is an explicit violation of School policy. For users of a domain-joined Windows machine wishing to also run Linux, a common workaround (and supported solution) is to run a Linux VM on top of Windows.

Users who wish to have dual-boot machines will need to consider self-administration; see the next section for details.


Lab staff are responsible for the maintenance of many of the UW-owned computers in the School, but you do have the option of self-administration: installing and maintaining the operating system of your choice on your UW-owned desktop or laptop computer. As the administrator, you are responsible for all software updates, including keeping the system patched against security threats. Your system must be a good citizen on the local and campus networks, as well as on the internet at large.

Local User Accounts

Creating local user accounts for interactive login on any domain-joined Windows machine is against CSL/School policy. Accounts for use solely for services and/or batch jobs are still allowed. If you have a specific need for interactive login that cannot be accomplished with your normal domain account, and still want the machine to be lab-administered, contact CSE Support.

Policy on Dept-sponsored Grad computing equipment

Full time graduates students are typically provisioned with a computing device when they enter the program. Use and transfer of that equipment is subject to policy. Read more on those policies HERE.

General-Purpose Computational (Cycle) Servers

The School has three Linux machines set aside specifically for non-project-specific research computational tasks. "bicycle," "recycle," and "tricycle" are available for long-running jobs that might otherwise impact the performance of a desktop machine.

GPU Workstations in Server Rooms

If you have a desktop with multiple GPUs in an Allen School server room, or are considering the purchase of a new computer with multiple GPUs, please read our policy on where these kinds of resources should be located.