The Freshers' Guide


This page summarises computing facilties throughout the University; please click here to read more comprehensive information.

College IT Facilities

The college has a computer room located above the Library, which is home to an array of PCs including a small contingent of Macs. Printing and scanning facilities are available. All student rooms on the college site, Cromwell Court and the nearest college-owned houses ("hostels") on Portugal Street and Park Parade have Ethernet connections. Sidney's IT office also supports commercial broadband internet access in outlying hostels without college network connections (College pays the cost of connection-sharing hardware and basic line rental).

Departmental IT Facilities

Usually each research group will run the combination of software and machines that best suits its purpose. Within each research group there will usually be an appointed computer administrator who is responsible for maintenance of the computer resources. The type of system likely to be encountered, therefore, varies with some groups having more up to date and extensive facilities than others. Some departments and/or research groups may furnish their students with laptop computers.

Many departments will have computer rooms with links to the Public Workstation Facility (PWF), where students at that department can gain access to up-to-date networked facilities. These can be a little busy during Full Term as they are usually used for teaching purposes as well. Departments may also run their own courses on the use of software particularly of interest to their field of study. Each department will have one or more Computer Officers who oversee the use and security of all computers within their department.

University IT Facilities

The University Computing Service, based centrally on the New Museums Site, administers the provision of computing resources for the university, and provides a help desk and a software sales service (both of which are also available online). Courses covering the use of many popular software packages are run throughout the year - these are free to students at the university. At the Computing Service there are public computer rooms available for all students with a variety of networked PCs, including Macintosh, Win 2000 and Linux systems, with printing and scanning facilities.

All Cambridge students are provided with an e-mail account on the main University mail server, Hermes, which can be accessed using a Webmail service (as well as POP, IMAP and SMTP). Graduates are entitled to apply for other services; those living in private accommodation, or otherwise using a commerical internet connection, can configure remote access to the Cambridge networks - click here for more details.

For high performance computing needs, a number of research groups and departments participate in CamGrid, a distributed computing grid.

IT Security

Prior to any PC being connected to the College network it must be deemed safe and assigned an IP address. You are strongly encouraged to regularly obtain service packs and critical updates for your operating system, web browser and e-mail client. The University provides free virus checking software and information at If you intend to network your own computer in your department, you should contact your research group or department network administrator - arrangements vary considerably between departments.

Contact Details

Freshers' Guide last modified: 1 November 2017
This section last modified: 10 September 2009