Computer Services for Faculty

Most services to School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) Faculty are provided directly by the local support organization, Computing and Information Technology Services (CETS). CETS also manages local support for computer services provided by other organizations at the University of Pennsylvania, such as the Registrar, Human Resources, etc.

Jump to:
Accounts | Advising Support | Anti-Spam | Anti-Virus | Audio Visual Support | Backups | Computer Labs | Disk Space | Firewall | FAQ
Graduate Admissions | Human Resources | Mailing Lists | Network Connectivity | Updates/ Patches | Research Computing | Web Services


Pennkey name/password is used to access most university online services. People new to Penn normally get their Pennkey setup code when they get their PennID cards. For guests without PennID cards, contact for assistance. There is a single "namespace" at Penn for usernames, which means that a name taken anywhere at Penn is not available to someone else.

SEAS accounts are available to all faculty, staff and students of Penn Engineering. The SEAS machines provide email, file service and computer service. It is a group of tightly connected Unix computers, including Sun Solaris and SUSE Linux and a Network Appliance filter. Here are instructions for configuring email.

Meeting Maker (calendar) accounts are available to SEAS faculty and staff from CETS. Accounts on research computers are authorized by the Principal Investigators whose grants acquired the computers.

Advising Support

Faculty members can get information about student records from Advisor InTouch. However, individual access must first be established through the Academic Programs Office, In addition, faculty members can get lists and pictures of their advisees from IRQDB.


CETS uses a spam filtering service to substantially reduce the amount of spam you will get in your inbox. If you are receiving a large quantity of spam, please contact CETS so we can help.


Incoming email to the SEAS mail server is scanned for viruses. Email attachments of the following filename extensions are deleted because they are almost always viruses:

ade adp app asd asf asx bas bat chm cmd com cpl crt dll exe fxp hlp hta hto inf ini ins isp jse lib lnk mdb mde msc msi
msp mst ocx pcd pif prg reg scr sct sh shb shs sys url vb vbe vbs vcs vxd wmd wms wmz wsc wsf wsh

The remaining email messages are scanned for strings matching anti-virus signatures.

CETS operates a Symantec Antivirus "push" service, which can send signatures of new viruses to your PC/Windows desktop automatically. This protects you from new viruses with no action on your part. For your home system or laptop, download the software and install it, then get new anti-virus signatures from Symantec on a regular basis. Even though your incoming email is usually protected from all but the newest viruses, viruses can spread through methods other than email.

Audio-visual support in the classroom

Most classrooms in the Engineering School buildings have projectors, laptop jacks and installed computers, which are set up exactly like the Student Computer Labs. For information on large auditorium a/v facilities within SEAS, contact It is important to test the software and features in advance, to ensure that they work as you expect.


The SEAS file system is backed up nightly and snapshots are made five times a day. It is also mirrored, for instant recovery from disk failure. CETS provides free backups for one computer each for faculty and staff whose salary is funded by the SEAS academic budget. Additional backup services for research computers are available for a fee or as part of the CIS Service Center.

Computer Labs

Computer Labs for general course support are provided by CETS. Both Linux and Windows labs are available. Labs may be reserved for classes; advance arrangements are required. To request a lab, send email to Engineering users have access to their SEAS disk space from all CETS Computer Labs. Printing in the labs is limited to SEAS students, faculty and staff only.

Course Support

Any Engineering course can use Blackboard. Students are automatically loaded into course sites. Scanning of course material is provided by the Penn Engineering Library, contact Blackboard sites must be renewed every semester, to enable loading of the semester’s enrolled students. Alternatively, faculty members may create their own course web sites using a course account on SEAS. Many software packages are installed in the student computer labs. Additional software packages may be purchased for the student labs at faculty request; however, the budget for that is based the enrollment of the course. To request course-related software, a Blackboard course site or a course email/web account contact

Faculty members can get lists and pictures of their students in their classes. Access is enabled automatically using Pennkey account, based on the instructor of record in the Registrar’s database.

Disk Space

Standard disk space allocation for faculty at SEAS is 10GB. The disk is available on the network, backed up and may be mounted on a variety of operating systems. Also, additional space is available for a fee or through the CIS Service Center.


Most incoming and outgoing network traffic is not firewalled. At the SEAS border router, some ports are blocked when they are used for active exploits. Typical ports blocked include 53, 69, 135, 139, 161, 162, 445, and some higher numbered ports. Port 80, which is the normal web port, is blocked for all computers except web servers registered with CETS. This prevents people from unintentionally activating web services. In addition, you may choose to put your computer behind a network firewall. At the desktop level, CETS supports Windows Firewall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about computer facilities in SEAS are located at

Graduate Student Admissions

Information about graduate applicants is available at Access is set up by the departments, using Pennkey for authentication.

Human Resources

Information related to employment at Penn is located at and, including pay, benefits and personal profile information. Access uses Pennkey account.

Mailing Lists

Mailing lists are available using Mailman software. Each list needs a list administrator, who chooses the set-up options and who may accept/reject postings if the list is moderated. A mailing list is automatically set up for each course section, with the address, such as for CSE 110, section 001 taught during fall 2004. By default, only the faculty member teaching the course may send email to the list. Information about class mailing lists is available at

Network Connectivity

Penn Engineering is connected to the Internet and Internet2 through redundant gigabit connections to PennNet. All offices and labs have Ethernet jacks installed. IPv4 addresses are provided by DHCP after authentication. IPv6 connectivity is also available through stateless autoconfiguration. Within Penn Engineering, network connections are typically 100 Mbit. Higher speed networking (up to 1 Gbit) is available for research projects; this may involve installation fees. The campus-wide AirPennNet wireless network is available throughout the Engineering buildings.

Be sure to check with CETS before setting up any wireless access point or wireless router in a SEAS building, as it will probably disrupt our wireless network.

Operating System Updates and Patches

All Windows PCs should be configured to install updates automatically from the Windows Update Service. On Redhat or SUSE Linux computers which are part of the CETS reference system, updates are installed automatically. Patches are installed regularly on all Unix computers managed by CETS, including the Eniac group and all CIS Service Center computers. To arrange patching of other Unix systems for research, contact CETS about fees. For Mac, use the automated update system from the Apple. If you run any other operating system or if you run multiple operating systems on your computer, it is your responsibility to keep it patched. A university policy requires that all computers connected to Pennnet have their critical vulnerabilities patched within 2 business days.

Research Computing Support

In general, faculty members provide funds through research grants for computing resources used for research by themselves and their students.

In the CIS Service Center, through a capitation rate on all CIS Ph.D. students, standard desktop computers and enhanced systems administration support are provided. In addition, the CIS Service Center pays for maintenance and service of research servers. For information about the CIS Service Center, contact

CETS provides assistance on specifications for research computers. Also, system administration service is available, charged by the hour. Network-attached, backed-up disk space is available, charged by the gigabyte. CETS also provides a wide range of systems administration and design services for High Performance Computing on Linux needs. Contact

Share Documents Securely

All SEAS faculty and staff can use Secure Share and Penn+Box to share files securely. See the Share Documents Securely Answers article for more information about these services.

Web Services

From any SEAS account, personal web pages may be served to the Internet using a Linux/Apache Web Server. Several other web services are available, including the ability to create cgi scripts for coursework and course support. Contact for details.

Research labs may run their own web servers, but they need to be registered with CETS and security needs to be maintained on the servers. Security may be managed by the researchers themselves, by contract with CETS or as part of the CIS Service Center.