Common Sense

There is no smoking permitted anywhere in Kaprielian Hall (or in any other public building at USC, for that matter).  In addition, no food or drink is permitted in the Math Center. (Have you ever tried to use a keyboard after somebody's spilled a chocolate shake on it?)  Since the Math Center is a place for people to get help, it won’t be as quiet as a library.  However, we ask everyone not to make unnecessary noise and if you are listening to something on your laptop or your i-pod, please use headphones!

Who May Use the Math Center

All USC students are welcome to use the Math Center as a study room and a place to get help with mathematics, but when there is competition for resources priority will be given to undergraduates enrolled in a math course. 

If you are having trouble finding the help you need, ask the Math Center assistant to help you identify the graduate students.  We have found that we are able to help most students in a timely manner.  However, please be aware that the Math Center does not have unlimited resources.  When there are many students seeking help, the graduate students are instructed to give priority to students enrolled in the same class for which the graduate student is the assistant.  (For example, a graduate student assisting Math 218 will give priority to a 218 student above other students.)  If you come to the Math Center and can’t get the help you need because all of the graduate students are busy with students from other classes, please try again at another time.  You could also check the schedule and come back at a time when there is a graduate student specifically assigned for your class.


Who May Use the Computers in the Math Center

The computer lab in KAP 265 is a multi-purpose room; it may be used on a walk-in basis provided it is not reserved for use by a class.  The computers in the Math Center proper are available on a first-come first-served basis subject to the following priorities.

1st Priority:  Students who are registered in Math 125, 126, or 218 in the current semester and have paid the associated lab fee.
2nd Priority:  A student registered in another class in the Department of Mathematics who is working on a computer assignment for that class.
3rd Priority:  All other USC students.


Multi-Purpose Rooms in the Math Center

The computer lab in KAP 265, the seminar room in KAP 249, and the small rooms in KAP 263B and KAP 256 are multi-purpose rooms; sometimes they may be reserved for a class, a seminar, or for students taking an exam or quiz.  If not reserved they are available for your use on a first-come first-served basis subject to the priorities above.


Academic Integrity

The University has a formal Academic Integrity Policy, and the consequences of violating it can be quite severe. You are urged to read this policy in SCampus.

You should be very careful when collaborating with others on homework assignments that are to be turned in and graded. Most professors will announce in class their policy on collaboration; some may forbid it completely, some may permit it provided the assistance is acknowledged in the assignment, while still others may permit group solutions in which the members of the group turn in a project and receive equal credit for it. Ask your professor what his or her policy is before this becomes an issue.

However, feel free to consult the graduate students and assistants either about the mathematics or about any software you are using; that's what they're here for.

When working on a computer project, it is very unsafe to print your homework, collect the printout, and then depart, leaving the file open. We have seen instances where somebody else "takes over" the work, changes the name, and prints it out, claiming it as their own. It is almost impossible to tell who is guilty and who is innocent under these circumstances; most professors will reject the work of both, under the theory that one is guilty of an academic integrity violation and the other is guilty, at the least, of poor judgment.

Here's the recommended procedure for saving your homework that is done on the computer; first, have the forethought to bring a flash drive. From the program you're using, save the file you're working on to the hard disk, being very careful to notice where you're saving it. (This is a problem especially with Mathematica, which by default wants to save files in the Mathematica directory--not a good place to try to find them! Saving them on the desktop is usually better.) Once this is done, copy the file to your flash drive or email it to yourself and then delete it from the hard disk.


Responsibility, Thoughtfulness and Basic Honesty

We prefer to believe that most students are honorable, so we have taken very few precautions to protect the systems on the computers; just enough to prevent accidental damage. We don't want to play mind games with hackers, because we prefer to keep an open and honest system.

It goes without saying that it is forbidden to deliberately attack the software systems by introducing viruses, destroying resources, removing or modifying system files, etc.

It is also forbidden to add system resources or software programs, and if you change default settings, please change them back when you're done. If you have a favorite Macintosh extension, please, leave it at home! Other students who paid the $80 lab fee may not be so enamored of the Glockenspiel sound that you prefer to the system beep.

It's OK to save files to the hard disks, although it's not a good idea to depend on them still being there later, because all of our hard disks are "wiped" and restored from CD images every few days.

All computers have CD's and software to play music CD's; you are welcome to play such music, but only through earphones which you bring, not through the computer's speakers! Any student who is annoyed or distracted by such use may ask you to stop playing, and you must comply. We will re-evaluate this policy if there are many complaints.

We are amenable to suggestions about computer system resources and software. Email Michael Shields with suggestions.