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What is CSIL?

The term CSIL (pronounced “see sill”) is used by members of the Computer Science community at UCSB to refer to two different things:

  1. A physical computer lab on the first floor of Harold Frank Hall.
  2. A network of computers that includes the machines in the CSIL lab, plus other systems that share the same home directories and software. These machines are available for remote access via ssh clients (more information below).

Here’s a bit more information on each of these

The CSIL network

  • Includes 48 machines numbered:,,… through
  • Includes the main time-sharing machine
  • Includes the 36 machines in Phelps 3525 lab, named (instructor lectern), and through (student workstations).

Remote Access via ssh:

The machines of the CSIL network can be accessed remotely using an SSH connection. The following articles have more information about connecting via ssh from various operating systems:

The Physical CSIL Lab

  • This lab has 48 computers running the Linux operating system.
  • During regular quarters, it is available from early morning until rather late at night, most days.
  • These are the main systems provided for student use in undergrad and graduate Computer Science courses.
  • The account you use is a CoE account, available here: Students that are enrolled in any CoE Computer Science or CCS Computing course are eligble for an account, even if they are not students in a College of Engineering degree program.
  • To find this lab: Go to the covered patio in front of the main, ocean side front entrance of Harold Frank Hall. If you are standing with your back to the ocean, facing the glass doors that lead into the building, you can enter CSIL through a separate set of two outside doors on your right.

Support Information

  • All of the CSIL network machines (csil-nn.cs, csil.cs and cstl-nn.cs) are supported by the ECI system staff
  • All of these machines mount the same home directories.
  • In principle, all three have the same software distributions available.
  • In practice, because the hardware for all three labs is subtly different and may require different “tweaks” to the operating system drivers, etc., there can be cases where the csil-xx.cs, cstl-xx.cs, and csil.cs diverge,
  • If/when a divergence occurs, it is likely either
    • (a) a temporarily situation while a rolling upgrade is being made (e.g. to patch a security vulnerability, or address a bug)
    • (b) an inadvertent oversight.

Reporting system issues

Students/TAs/Instructors are encouraged, if/when they find significant differences between/among systems, or other unexpected behavior, to report these problems.

Students should typically report system problems to their instructional staff first, rather than contacting ECI staff directly. When it is being used, Piazza is a good forum for this. If Piazza is not being used, then email your TA/Instructor.

Your TA/Instructor can then check the situation, and if necessary, escalate to the ECI staff via the email address

When reporting a problem, document as carefully as possible:

  • Include a complete transcript of what you typed at the command prompt, and what all of the output was.
  • Describe the difference between what you got, and what you expected the result to be.
  • If you get the expected result on one system (system “A”) and a different result on another system (system “B”), it is helpful to include a transcript of each

In your transcript, include the commands:

  • hostname to echo the hostname of the system
  • date to indicate the date/time
  • whoami to print the current username
  • pwd to print the current working directory


-bash-4.3$ hostname
-bash-4.3$ date
Fri Sep 23 07:31:12 PDT 2016
-bash-4.3$ whoami
-bash-4.3$ pwd

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