Computing Resources

CSCI Machines and Accounts

Computing systems used by CSCI faculty and students include:

  • otter (GNU/Linux)
  • pupN in 315-102 (GNU/Linux)
  • cubN in 315-115 (GNU/Linux)
  • cscidb (GNU/Linux)

Users of the above systems are subject to VIU's Statement of Appropriate Use of Information Technology, Facilities and Services. In addition, users are subject to the following Lab and Computer Usage rules.

Linux Accounts on otter

Computer Science students have access to a Dell R710 running GNU/Linux. Linux accounts will be issued to students registered in courses requiring such access.

Students may access their accounts on-campus by logging in to a pup or cub workstation, creating a Terminal window, and using the ssh command: ssh otter.

The availability of the PC labs by or on the door to the lab.


Two laser printers are available in Building 315 Rooms 102 and 115. The printer in Room 102 is called csci-lq. The printer in Room 115 is called csci-lqa.

PC Labs

Computing Services operates a number of PC labs on campus. A complete listing and availability is displayed in the library and outside Building 315 Room 114.

Computer Science Systems Lab

This lab is located in Building 315 Room 115. It is used to deliver several Systems Courses, including CSCI 261, CSCI 355, and CSCI 360.

Computer Science Project Lab

This lab is located in Building 315 Room 215. It has an evolving hardware/software configuration that facilitates various courses and on-going projects in the Computer Science department.

Off-Campus Access

See the VIU Technology website.

Card Key Access

Computer Science students can gain access to CSCI labs in the Physics Building by purchasing and registering their card-key. 

Different Levels of Access

There are two levels of access:

Level 1

Doors: Building 315 Room 102 and the north-end ground floor entrance.
Access: 8am to 10pm 7 days a week including weekends and holidays. Students registered in the following CSCI courses are eligible for Level 1 access:
160 161 162 171 172 173

Level 2

Includes Level 1 access and:

Doors: Building 315 Room 115 and Room 215
Access: 8am to 10pm 7 days a week including weekends and holidays.

Students registered in the following CSCI courses are eligible for Level 2 access:
251 260 261 265 310 311 320 322 330 331 340 355 360 365 370 375 405 420 422 435 454 460 461 485


  1. Purchase a student proximity card-key from the Campus Store if you don't already have one. Note: 2019-09 Your new student card will not work.  You still need to purchase a separate proximity card.
  2. From your account on otter, send email to (no attachments). The email message must contain exactly 3 lines: The first line must contain your student number (no spaces); the second line must contain the card-key registration number exactly as shown on the card (case and spaces included); and the third line must contain the desired level of access (just the digit):

    <student number>
    <card-key number>      // Eg. XSF(01)49:43210 or XSF 0249:43210
    where <level> is either 1 or 2

    Example: student with ID 123 456 789 wants to enable card XSF(01):49:76543 for level 2 access (bold text indicates input data):

    student@otter:~$ mail cscicard
    Subject: card key request


    The fourth line of the message body is a period on its own - this signals the end of the message body. At the CC: prompt simply hit the <Enter> key without any other text.

The email must be sent from your account on for the request to be accepted.

Any messages sent that do not follow the above format exactly will not get processed.

All cards will "expire" on the last day of term. Card key users must adhere to the following rules:

  1. The key is not to be used by anyone other that the student it is registered to.
  2. You are not to allow any other student access to the Physics Building or Computer Science labs using your key.

VIU aims to program card access within one work day of the email request being accepted.

Lab and Computer Usage Rules

Computer Science students are subject to the following Lab and Computer Usage rules. In addition, all computer users at VIU are subject to VIU's Use of Information Technology Policy.

Lab Usage

  • You will not bring food or drink into the labs.
  • You will not allow unauthorized individuals to enter locked labs.
  • You will not conduct yourself in a manner disruptive to the use of the lab by others.
  • You will not take any action to circumvent lab security e.g. propping open of doors, tampering with security cables.
  • You will only use equipment designated for your use.
  • You will use this computing resource only for course work and for non-course related computing of an educational nature e.g. exploring the internet for materials related to but not strictly required in Computer Science courses. In the latter case, you must relinquish the computer to a student waiting for a machine on which to do courseworks.

Computer Usage

  • You are responsible for all activity on your account.
  • You will not tamper with the operating system security or accounting nor disguise your identity while using the system.
  • You will not permit any other individual to use your account.
  • You will not interfere with other users nor attempt to obtain access to another account.
  • You will not permit processes to accumulate excessive amounts of compute time or resources.
  • You will not modify the system configuration (e.g., xterm configuration) or install or save software other than programs you create or install as part of your course work.
  • You will not broadcast messages on any of VIU's systems. You will not write (anonymously or otherwise) on another user's screen.
  • You will not use your computing privileges for commercial gain.
CLOSE X Computer Science