Introduction to CLASSE-IT

  • CLASSE-IT team and computing environment
  • General philosophy
  • User services

Who We Are

Our team: 10 full time staff + many who contribute at the 10-50% level.

Devin Bougie Assistant IT Director, Linux   Dan Riley Linux, networking, security
Bill Brangan User support, facilities, printing   Mike Roman Mac, A/V
John Dobbins Control systems   Mike Ryan Programming
Attilio De Falco Software librarian, Compute Farm, Linux   Phil Sorensen CHESS, Linux
Marlin Guest Windows, networking   Charlie Strohman Control systems
Tim O'Connell Autodesk   Werner Sun IT Director
James Pulver IT Security Liaison, networking, Windows   Shijie Yang CHESS, A/V, networking

What We Do

Lab functions that we support Examples
Facility operations (on call 24/7)  
  • Control systems & monitoring for CESR, CHESS, ERL, CBETA
  • Data collection for CHESS and CesrTA
  • Power outage recovery
Basic research  
  • Instrument control/readout for SRF, CMS, g-2, photocathodes, cosmology
  • Data analysis & simulation for CesrTA, theorists, CHESS users
R&D for accelerators and instrumentation  
  • Engineering for CHESS-U and CBETA
  • Development of beam-size monitors for CESR
Multi-institute centers/collaborations  
  • Accounts and collaboration tools for CBB, CLEO, CBETA
Business and administration  
  • HR, accounting, purchasing, project scheduling
Seminars, workshops, communications  
  • A/V equipment, event recording, visitor support, websites

Many different uses of computing supported with one unified environment.

CLASSE-IT Infrastructure


Our Philosophy

  • We have a large and complex computing environment, limited resources, security and audit concerns, Cornell and funding agency requirements.
  • Therefore,
    • All CLASSE computers/software/networks are centrally managed.
      • Ensures compliance with Cornell policies, makes overall support manageable.
    • We provide full support only for CLASSE computers and services.
      • Not personal computers or third-party services (e.g. email, calendar, wi-fi).
    • We centralize services wherever possible:
      • File storage, software, networked Linux systems, wiki.
      • Similar model to other large facilities (Fermilab, SLAC, CERN, Brookhaven).

  • But there is flexibility within this structure:
    • We know how to support a diverse and constantly changing research program.
    • Communication is essential -- please discuss your needs with us!
    • We can be your collaborators.

Where To Find Help

  • To reach CLASSE-IT:
    • Submitting service requests gives the best results.
      • We work as a team, and tickets keep everyone informed.
      • We get hundreds of emails/day. With a ticket, your request doesn't get lost.
        • Please don't report problems to individual team members.
      • Help us help you: give us as many details as possible.
        • Tell us what you need and why -- the context is key.
      • Let us know if your ticket is urgent. Otherwise, default max response time: 1-2 business days.
    • In case of emergency:
      • Page CLASSE-IT on the beamphone OR consult our CallList.
      • Also submit a service request (if possible).
      • Examples of emergencies: stoppage in CESR operations or CHESS data collection, paper submission deadline, broken projector for visiting speaker.
    • Regular business hours:
      • Monday - Friday: approx. 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM (short daily job meeting at 9:30 AM).
      • Exception: weekly staff meeting Thursdays 10:00 AM - noon.

Overview of User Services

General Computing for research
CLASSE-managed desktops/laptops   Hardware development
Web browsing   Experimental control systems
Printing   Data acquisition
File storage and backups   Data storage and archival
Productivity software   Data analysis platforms, Linux utilities
Antivirus, endpoint security   Specialized software licenses and code compilers
Remote access   CLASSE Compute Farm

  • Much more information at our homepage.
  • Everything is designed to work together, on Linux and Windows and Mac, using one CLASSE account per user.

Some More Details On...

  • CLASSE-Managed Systems
  • CLASSE Computer Accounts
  • Central Data Storage
    • Confidential Data
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Installing Software
  • Remote Login
  • Linux and Compute Farm

CLASSE-Managed Systems

  • CLASSE computers are designed to be:
    • Interchangeable:
      • You can log into any CLASSE system. Consistent user experience across all systems.
    • Safe:
      • Compliant with Cornell policies on security updates, antivirus software, locking screensavers, etc.
    • Centrally connected:
      • Easy access to central storage (a.k.a. samba), Compute Farm, WinAPP
  • CLASSE computers are not personal computers and not like other computers at Cornell.
    • We think of them as portals to a centralized pool of computing resources.

  • Things to know: SystemExpectations
    • CLASSE-IT is responsible for all computers purchased through CLASSE.
    • Administrative access is restricted.
    • Windows/Linux: OS and software updates installed every Tuesday (early AM).
    • We can usually service your computer from afar, by logging in remotely.

CLASSE Computer Accounts

  • One username/password for all CLASSE computers (Linux, Windows, Mac), web pages, VPN, etc.
    • CLASSE username = Cornell NetID (if you have one)
    • CLASSE password must be different from your Cornell NetID password
    • More info at ClasseAuthentication.

  • Exceptions:
    • Some CHESS systems, CHESS Allstaff, legacy operating systems, Replicon

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Central Data Storage

  • Very important: Do not store files locally!
    • Local disks on CLASSE computers are not backed up.

  • Instead, use central storage (a.k.a. samba):
    • Enterprise-class redundant disk arrays, capacity almost 1 PetaByte (almost 1,000,000 GigaBytes).
    • Backed up on a regular basis. If you delete a file accidentally, ask for a restore.
    • Home directory (1 GB) and personal user directory (2 GB) should be used sparingly.
    • Most files should go in the space allocated to your project:
    • Can be accessed from any CLASSE system: Windows, Linux, or Mac.
    • On a non-CLASSE network, access samba through our Virtual Private Network (VPN).

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Confidential Data

  • Cornell defines "confidential (level 1) data" as:
    • Social Security number
    • Credit card number
    • Driver's license number
    • Bank account number
    • Protected health information, as defined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

  • By CLASSE policy, confidential data is not allowed on any CLASSE computer.
    • If your job requires you to collect confidential data, please contact the CLASSE Executive/HR Staff Assistant.

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Collaboration Tools

  • Cornell services:
    • Cornell Box: good for collaboration, not for long-term storage (no backups)
    • Zoom for videoconferencing

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Installing Software

  • If you have a software need, please submit a service request to discuss.
    • We try to avoid proliferation of software, because we are responsible for long-term maintenance and license compliance.
    • We might have a similar package already installed, or a different way of doing what you want.
    • Cornell also requires a security review for new software purchases.
    • Please review our SoftwareInstallPolicy.

  • Many common packages available centrally on Linux:
    • Drastically reduces maintenance overhead.
    • Matlab, Mathematica, ImageJ, Opera, ANSYS, etc.
    • Code development in C, C++, Fortran, Python, etc.
    • Easily accessible from Windows, use central storage for files
  • Windows and Mac software:
  • Some software available as self-service downloads (wrapped with Cameyo).

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Remote Login

  • For remote access to a CLASSE Linux computer:
    • From Linux or Mac: SSH or X2Go
    • From Windows: PuTTY or Xming or X2Go or CLASSE_GRID.exe script.
    • Works both on and off CLASSE networks.

  • For large file transfers (100+ GB): Globus

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Linux and Compute Farm

  • Linux is the preferred operating system at CLASSE:
    • Our core infrastructure servers are running Linux.
    • Standard for advanced scientific computing.
    • Centralized access to software, computing resources, and storage.
    • Code development: C/C++, Java, Python, Fortran, Perl, shell scripting
    • General purpose login node: lnx201.classe.cornell.edu
      • This is a shared resource. Please limit its use to brief interactive jobs.
    • Getting started: LinuxIntroduction

  • CPU-intensive jobs should use the CLASSE Compute Farm
    • 60 nodes and growing, can run hundreds of jobs in parallel.
    • Supports interactive and batch jobs.
    • Queueing system guarantees equitable distribution of resources.

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Getting Around (Linux)


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Getting Around (Windows)


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Getting Around (Non-CLASSE)


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  • CLASSE-IT is very complex because of the many projects and communities it serves.
    • Any single user or any single project only sees the tip of the iceberg.
    • Our policies and practices are aimed at minimizing the degree of complexity in the system, while fulfilling the lab's research and business needs.

  • We see our computing environment as a giant chessboard: each piece affects every other piece.

  • Our overarching concern is to enable the research and business goals of CLASSE, and always in a sustainable fashion.

Please share your needs and feedback with us!

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