Computer Science House

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Computer Science House
RIT CSH logo
Computer Science House logo
Abbreviation CSH
Motto Getting more done after 2am than most people do all day.
Formation 1976
Membership (2015-2016)
~100 active
Parent organization
Rochester Institute of Technology

Computer Science House (CSH) is a special interest house at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) founded in 1976. It is located on the third floor of Nathaniel Rochester Hall. Its membership is composed of a group of students of any major who share an interest in computers, community and socialization. CSH promotes learning outside of the classroom by offering seminars and resources to work on personal projects.[1]

Computer Science House is commonly referred to as "House" or "Floor" by its members.


Early years (1976–1986)[edit]

RIT originally chartered the creation of a special interest house for computer science in 1976. During the 1981 school year, the Social, House Improvements and Evaluation committees were introduced. These groups spearheaded various titular focuses of the house. In 1982, the house received its first major donation: a PDP-11, which was housed on the floor. The computer represented a significant moment in the history of the house, and in the following year the pink and purple of the machine were adopted as the official colors.

A second PDP was acquired in 1983, and high-speed modems were built and installed to access the VAX systems hosted by the Computer Science department. In summer 1983, the first interviews for admission to the house were conducted.


Steve Wozniak visited the house on October 7, 2013 after being invited by a freshman.[2]

In October 2016, hazing allegations against CSH sparked controversy on RIT's subreddit.[3][unreliable source?][non-primary source needed]


Every active member completes a yearly major project. These projects help members to learn more about a 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[4] is responsible for the account and computer registration systems at RIT.[5]


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 No. 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).[6]

  • CSH has three networked vending machines

RIT Schedule Maker[edit]

This web application was first developed by CSH alumnus[7] and jQuery creator John Resig to allow students to enter their courses and generate possible schedules. It is one of the highest trafficked sites on the domain.[citation needed]

Seminar series[edit]

CSH organizes seminars on various technologies for the benefit of the RIT community. [8]

Shower-Oriented Audio Player (SOAP)[edit]

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

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.[citation needed]

SIGGRAPH 1995[edit]

In 1995, CSH had a table at a Special Interest Group for Computer GRAPHics.[9]

Okee project and porting NetBSD[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 six-board CPU boardset with a single CPU board. The CPU is based around the Motorola 68040 processor.

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.[10][11]

Special-purpose rooms[edit]

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


CSH strives to maintain a balance between social and technical. Members are encouraged to leave their doors open as often as possible. Many of the spontaneous events that occur on floor are a result of a member walking into another member's room and striking up a conversation.[citation needed] CSH also maintains a significant off-floor presence as members get older.[12]


The Executive 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 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 (OpComm). It also includes the House Chairman.

Notable alumni[edit]



  1. ^ a b Cahill, Brendan (3 December 2010). "The House that CS Built". Reporter Magazine. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "CSH Hazing • r/rit". reddit. 
  4. ^ Downs, Kelly (30 October 2008). "Recognition for historic ‘hack’ leads to a Coke and a smile". RIT University News. 
  5. ^ "RIT Insider View - Explore Rochester IT". Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Segan, Sascha (15 September 2008). "The Ten Greatest Hacks of All Time". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  7. ^ "Innovation Hall of Fame - John Resig". Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  8. ^ DeCausemaker, Remy (30 March 2010). "CSH Seminar Series: Karlie Robinson". Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  9. ^ "Computer Science House Online Art Gallery". Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Travis Miller (Director) (2010). Computer Science House @ RIT (YouTube Video). Rochester NY: Computer Science House. 
  11. ^ Cohoe, Grant (8 December 2011). "CSHnet". Grant Cohoe Blog. 
  12. ^ "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