Computer Science House

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Computer Science House (CSH) is a special interest house founded in 1976 at the Rochester Institute of Technology, made up of a group of students who share an interest in computers, community and having fun. Despite its name, students from all majors are allowed to join. CSH offers many resources to its members and promotes learning outside of the classroom through projects.[1]



Every active member completes a yearly major project. These projects help members to learn more about some technical or non-technical topic, benefit CSH or the community, and have a significant time commitment. In addition to some of the notable projects, CSH members have been a major factor in the evolution of the campus network and information services. For example, a CSH alumni[2] is responsible for the account and computer registration systems at RIT.[3]


This project allows members to log in from anywhere in the world via telnet, SSH, cellphone, or a form on the house's website and 'drop' a drink. CSH currently has two drink machines and a snack machine, all of them using Tiny Internet Interface microcontrollers to interface with the network. Computer Science House's "Internet Coke Machine" was listed as #3 in a list of "The Ten Greatest Hacks of All Time" in PC Magazine, behind NASA's efforts to save Apollo 13 and the PDP-1 game Spacewar! (Segan 2008). [4]

RIT Schedule Maker[edit]

This web application was first developed by CSH alumni[5] and jQuery creator John Resig to allow students to enter their courses and generate possible schedules.

Seminar Series[edit]

In the past, CSH has organized seminars on various technologies for the benefit of the RIT community. [6]

Shower-Oriented Audio Player (SOAP)[edit]

Speakers are installed in the bathrooms and connected to a backend audio system which to allow users to stream music to any location while they shower.[1]

The Clipper Project[edit]

In 1985, several ARG (Advanced Research Group) members set out to design a 32-bit workstation for use by CSH and the RIT community. This would create one of the most powerful computer systems for that time. They chose the state-of-the-art Clipper Module from Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation (now Intergraph Corporation) as a base for their computer system.

SIGGRAPH 1995[edit]

Back in 1995, CSH had a table at a Special Interest Group for Computer GRAPHics.[7]

The Okee Project[edit]

Porting of NetBSD to a home-grown single CPU board. The Okee CPU board was designed by an alumnus of CSH, Frank Giuffrida, to replace the CCI Tahoe 6/32 6 board CPU boardset with a single CPU board. The CPU is based around the Motorola 68040 processor.

Porting NetBSD[edit]

Members of CSH ported NetBSD to the DECStation 5000 series workstations.


Network Services[edit]

CSH runs all services on both its wired and wireless networks. Web hosting, Email, Newsgroups, and Shell services are provided to all members. Backend services include OpenLDAP, MIT Kerberos, and FreeRADIUS.[8][9]

Special Purpose Rooms[edit]

  • Conference Room
  • Project Room
  • Research Room
  • ARG/Server Room
  • Lounge
  • Library
  • Kitchen
  • User Center
  • Software Room


CSH maintains a balance between social and technical. Members are encouraged to leave their doors open as much as possible. Many of the spontaneous events that occur on floor are a result of someone walking into someone elses room and striking up a conversation. CSH also maintains a significant off-floor presence as members get older.[10]


The Executive Board, or E-Board, is an elected group of directors who each manage a different aspect of House's affairs. Through weekly meetings and active involvement on floor, the directors organize our projects into different areas of interest, and encourage members to team up to complete larger tasks. The Executive Board includes the directors of Evaluations, History, Financial, Social, Research & Development, House Improvements, and Operational Communications. It also includes the House Chairman and the Secretary.

Notable alumni[edit]


  • CSH was Yahoo! Internet Life's most wired dorm of 1999
  • CSH participated in RIT ROCS (Reaching Out for Community Service) 2005
  • CSH has three networked vending machines


  1. ^ a b Cahill, Brendan (3 December 2010). "The House that CS Built". Reporter Magazine. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  2. ^ Downs, Kelly (30 October 2008). "Recognition for historic ‘hack’ leads to a Coke and a smile". RIT University News. 
  3. ^ "RIT Insider View - Explore Rochester IT". Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Segan, Sascha (15 September 2008). "The Ten Greatest Hacks of All Time". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Innovation Hall of Fame - John Resig". Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  6. ^ DeCausemaker, Remy (30 March 2010). "CSH Seminar Series: Karlie Robinson". Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  7. ^ "Computer Science House Online Art Gallery". Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Travis Miller (Director) (2010). Computer Science House @ RIT (YouTube Video). Rochester NY: Computer Science House. 
  9. ^ Cohoe, Grant (8 December 2011). "CSHnet". Grant Cohoe Blog. 
  10. ^ "Computer Science House - Ingenuity in Overdrive". Retrieved 22 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°5′6.3″N 77°40′3.5″W / 43.085083°N 77.667639°W / 43.085083; -77.667639