CSCF — Information for Graduate Students

As SCS graduate students, you will likely need to know about all that follows on this page.

Table of Contents

Getting Help

You can always ask for help from the CSCF Help Desk, the consultants in the Math Faculty Help Centre, or from IST (Information Systems and Technology, the central campus IT support organization).

However it's quite likely that your supervisor has subscribed to research support, in which case you'll have a Point of Contact who will help you resolve problems with your computing environment. The Point of Contact model attempts to minimize the number of different people you'll have to go to for help. However, because of how services are funded, you'll likely find yourself dealing with someone other than your research point of contact when dealing with the student computing environment. E.g. for help with computing problems related to course TA duties, use the Point of Contact for the course.

Your Identity

To identify yourself to campus computing systems, you use your "userid" as recorded in the campus directory; WatIAM. This is automatically assigned based upon registration data. It is the same userid as is used with the Quest student information system.


To prove your identity, you need a password. Unlike your userid, you have multiple passwords, depending upon what service you're using.

In theory you should only need one for each level of security; so-called "single sign-on". Unfortunately we don't have that. In practice, there are several passwords to know.


Your "WatIAM" password is used for campus provided services, ranging in importance from your personal HR records or student records, to the password used to access the campus wireless network.

You can (re)set your WatIAM password at It is the same as the password used for the Quest student information system.

This also referred to as Nexus, which is the (Microsoft Active) directory service that uses the userids managed by WatIAm.

The workstations in the podiums found in most lecture rooms use Nexus, the Microsoft Active Directory used for many Windows workstations across campus. See the description of podium usage for details.


Your "cs-general" password, also referred to as your "linux.cs" password, is used to access the central CS server environment, e.g. where you can store files, and publish WWW pages. Undergraduate students don't generally have access to this. This password also provides access to the standard workstation (or laptop) supplied to most grad students.

Your initial password can be set at the CSCF Help Desk office, by you running a WWW form there, and providing your WatIAM password. If you have a Point of Contact, they may help by setting your initial general password along with your workstation administrator password.


Your "cs-teaching" password, also referred to as your "linux.student.cs" password, is used to access the central CS teaching environment. Students taking courses and those involved in instruction have access to this.

Your initial password can be set by a WWW form that can (re)set your "cs-teaching" password, when provided your WatIAM password.


Each of the main computing environments provides a fileserver, accessible directly by the machines in the environments, and remotely via the (Windows) SMB protocol.

Environment SMB Server Quota
cs-general 20 GB
cs-teaching 4 GB + special course needs

cs-teaching filespace is available only when you're taking courses, or when involved in instruction, e.g. as a TA/IA for a course.

The cs-general and cs-teaching fileservers are thoroughly backed up. Be warned that if you keep your files elsewhere, backups are your responsibility. E.g. you may choose to store your files on your personal workstation, and/or on servers in research labs with which you may be affiliated.


You automatically have access to the General Computing Environment. That will provide basic WWW and file storage. In addition, you may have access to computing resources in computing labs with which you are affiliated.

By default you will be provided a "thin client" to access the General Computing Environment. Or your supervisor may choose to provide a workstation for you, e.g. by subscribing to CSCF computing support, which results in provision of a school provided workstation or laptop. Students in the MHI and coursework MMath programs have access to the shared Mac workstations in DC3335.



There are generally no fixed bandwidth or transfer limits on your Internet usage. It is expected that you will act responsibly and not abuse this trust policy. In our experience, excessive usage is often a sign of a compromised system (one which has been usurped by unauthorized users), and therefore your network usage is monitored for abnormal usage patterns. We encourage you to use strong passwords and leave the security measures on the systems in place.


There is a campus firewall. To bypass it, use the VPN. Various research systems have needed exceptions to the firewall rules. And the linux.cs and linux.student.cs systems allow remote `ssh` access.


The campus directory (WatIAM) provides automatic mail forwarding for mail addressed to your official student email address

Sometime after your acceptance as a student, you should have received an email message at the email address you initially provided. One of the things it mentioned is that future email will go to your official student email address above, and that it can be read using a mail server called

That service should meet basic email needs, and has the important characteristic that confidential information sent to you (e.g. student marks) will remain on campus, and more importantly, in the country. Using it also makes it clear who you are, as your WatIAM userid is used for your email address.

You do have an alternative on-campus service available. It's called


If you expect to be using the campus electronic calendar/booking system, and/or if you like to use Microsoft Outlook to process email, then Connect is the more appropriate choice, as it's implemented with Microsoft Exchange. You can switch by asking IST for an account by sending email to, stating that you are a Computer Science graduate student and would like to use Connect instead of Mailservices. If you have a significant amount of email on Mailservices, IST is willing to copy it to Connect for you, if you ask. Once you have a Connect account, you can specify that your mail be sent to by telling WatIAM.

You have an account in the General Computing Environment. By default, it will be created to forward email to as mentioned above. The same will be true for an account in the Student Computing Environment. Please don't change that forwarding.

In addition to using a specific mail client, your email may be accessed using a WWW based interface like myWaterloo or SquirrelMail for Mailservices, or Outlook Web Access for Connect.

You may discover that CS does run a mail server, called It exists only until everyone has moved to one of the above services. Please don't use it.


Each of the two major environments provides WWW service:

Environment WWW Server
CS General
CS Teaching

If you have an account on an environment, you can create your own WWW pages, and run your own WWW programs (CGI's), by placing your files in your public_html directory. If your UW userid is YourUWuserid then

Environment Your URL
CS General
CS Teaching


There are details about printing available, the most important of which follows:

Recommended Printers for Graduate Students

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to use lj_csgrad which is a pair of printers located in the grad mailroom in DC2583.

In the event the grad printers are unavailable, there are printers specific to research groups, as well as some general access printers intended primarily for faculty and staff:

Location Queue Comments
DC3507 lp2_dc3507
" xrxpr003 colour
DC3622 lj_dc3624
" xrxpr005 colour
DC2326a mfp102 colour

See and for a complete list.


Campaign Waterloo

David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

Tel: 519-888-4567 x33293
Fax: 519-885-1208

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