Acceptable Use Policies for Computing Resources
The intent of this document is to provide guidelines for a fair and equitable distribution of computing resources for users of the Engineering Computer Network (ECN) as administered by Engineering Computer Services (ECS) for the College of Engineering. The practices described here seek to allow for individual flexibility, while not encroaching on the use of the facilities by others.
The operation of Engineering Computer Network facilities shall be in accordance with the University of Iowa's Policy on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources. The full text of the UI policy is available as part of University’s Operations Manual.
All account owners are responsible for knowing and abiding by the guidelines and responsibilities set forth in this document.
The goals of ECS are to support the curricular and research needs of the College, ensure the best allocation of equipment and software resources, provide safeguards against unauthorized access to the system, and promote a working environment that respects and values the rights of all users.
All College of Engineering students, non–Engineering students taking an engineering course, and faculty and staff are given an Engineering computer account while they are associated with the college. Read the Engineering Computer Account Policies for information on how long an account remains active.
As a provider of computing services, ECS is responsible for delivering a reliable, effective, and secure computing environment. We pledge to provide the following:
- Reasonable safeguards against unauthorized access to your account.
- Data recovery in the case of equipment failure that results in a loss of information.
- Access to the computing resource 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the semester except during periodic maintenance, unexpected equipment failures, installation of critical operating system patches, loss of power, and any other crisis that may interrupt service.
- Regular upgrades of hardware and software to support the College's computing needs.
- User assistance and consulting support on use of the computing facilities.
All account holders are responsible for abiding by the University of Iowa's Policy on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources. The following additional responsibilities are in effect for anyone accessing the ECS facilities. Users should:
- Use the computing resources solely to pursue the educational mission of the College of Engineering and in an efficient, ethical, and legal manner. Contribute to a working environment that encourages effective study and work for all users. This includes, but is not limited to, an environment free from loud talking, the playing of loud music, sound from computer games, offensive graphics on computer screens, and graphic or vulgar language and gestures that demean individuals.
- Maintain the integrity and security of your account by keeping your password confidential. Report any suspected unauthorized access to your account and change your password immediately. Maintain the privacy of your account by not loaning it to anyone.
- Abide by the “Usage Guidelines” and “Suggested Good Practices” described below to maintain equitable use of the resource for all users.
- Use College-provided commercial software to support the educational and research mission of the College of Engineering.
ECS will make every effort to evaluate individual user actions on a case-by-case basis. If a particular program or process is unduly reducing the availability of network resources, or is creating a disruption in the study climate of a facility, then this activity is subject to actions that will restore service to the larger community. Specifically, steps will be taken to protect the files of users and to maintain sufficient processing resources to allow persons to access and perform work with their accounts. Actions taken will be determined by current system load on the network, severity of the offense, previous misconduct history by an individual, and any extenuating circumstances. Actions may include, but are not limited to, email notification of the situation, requests for clarifying information, termination of processes, and account suspension.
These guidelines describe specific practices expected at all times. ECS may take action when these guidelines are violated.
Computers in the Elder, Hering, Henry Electronic Classroom (1245), and 2301 labs are paid for with undergraduate technology fees that support academic computing in the College. To ensure that computing resources are available equitably:
- On a single workstation/computer, confine your access to one interactive1 session and one background job2.You can use one interactive session to check on the status of a background job. See Examples below.
- Limit yourself to two concurrent background jobs on the entire network. It is best to start the two jobs on two different machines in order to distribute the load. All background jobs on Engineering workstations must be set to run at a low priority.
- Limit game playing to those times when a lab is not crowded. Use of the facilities for academic work always takes precedence over game playing.
- Refrain from running server programs. Executing server programs is expressly prohibited when 1) the program continues to run after you log out; 2) the program is not related to the study of engineering; or 3) the program duplicates services already provided on the network (e.g., a web server). Please consult with ECS staff if this policy negatively impacts academic needs.
- Do not run non-class-related, resource-intensive programs (e.g., seti@home, folding@home) when classes are in session. Permission to run these programs during breaks may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Contact ECS to request permission.
While it is impossible to enumerate all situations that might require action, these usage guidelines illustrate acceptable conduct. If your situation requires deviation from these guidelines, or you do not know if an activity falls outside these guidelines, please consult ECS staff to coordinate any special requirements. These may include relaxed background job priority, extra process allowances, or extra disk space. Every effort will be made to coordinate with individual users and to accommodate the bona fide needs of study and research.
1 “interactive session” is using the keyboard and mouse to communicate with the computer. All Windows sessions are interactive.
2 “background session” is a job submitted that requires no keyboard or mouse input to complete the computation. You can submit background jobs/sessions on the Linux workstations, but not on the Windows computers.
Examples: If you are seated at and logged into a Linux workstation or a Windows machine, that is one interactive session; if you connect to another machine, that is the second session. If you submit a job to run without needing keyboard input, that is a background job, your second session. When coming into the ECN remotely via SSH, the SSH session is one active session; if you connect via SSH to another machine, that is a second session.
The following guidelines are always in effect, whether you are working in a private office or using a public lab.
- Make regular backups of your account for file recovery in case of accidental deletion.
- If you receive unsolicited email from within the College and prefer not to receive subsequent mailings, speak with the sender and ask that your name be removed from subsequent mailings.
- If an account owner requests that s/he be removed from mass mailings, honor that request.