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.
Computer Science House is commonly referred to as "House" or "Floor" by its members.
Early years (1976â"1986)
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.
In 2016, Computer Science House celebrated its 40th anniversary. During the celebration, a new dorm building for the organization was announced.
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 is responsible for the account and computer registration systems at RIT.
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).
Today, Computer Science House owns 3 networked drink machines.
RIT Schedule Maker
This web application was first developed by CSH alumnus 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 rit.edu domain.
CSH organizes seminars on various technologies for the benefit of the RIT community.
Shower-Oriented Audio Player (SOAP)
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.
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.
In 1995, CSH had a table at a Special Interest Group for Computer GRAPHics.
Okee project and porting NetBSD
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.
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.
- Conference Room
- Project Room
- Research Room
- ARG/Server Room
- 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. CSH also maintains a significant off-floor presence as members get older.
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.
- John Resig, creator of jQuery and Processing.js
- Chris Mason (computer programmer), former director of Linux Kernel Engineering at Oracle and the founder of Btrfs
- Tristan O'Tierney, co-founder of Square, Inc.
- CSH was Yahoo! Internet Life's most wired dorm of 1999
- CSH participated in RIT ROCS (Reaching Out for Community Service) 2005
- Naik, Gautam, "In Digital Dorm, Click on Return for Soda", The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 23, 1997, Section: Online, pg. B1.
- Freidson, Michael, "Geek House", Yahoo! Internet Life, May 1999
- Computer Science House
- CSH Projects