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FAS Account Info
Harvard Univ. Computer Services
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Getting Started
Yes, you will be able to do your problem sets on your own computer. If you're running Mac OSX Tiger or Leopard, you'll already have Java 1.6 installed, which is what you'll need to use to compile programs. You will also need a programming editor, and there are some listed on this page under Useful Downloads. There is also info on the Java page about writing your Java programs. If you are running Windows, you will need to install Sun's Java SDK which is linked on the Java page.
Just to clarify Harvard accounts, the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences originally set up its computer servers to work for two populations - one for general use, and one for programmers. These went by the hostnames of fas and ice (for Instructional Computing Environment). Then a few years ago, they added a cluster of Linux machines for programming, and named that the New Instructional Computing Environment (nice). Subsequently, ICE was closed. The remaining two both serve the same group of accounts, so logging into your "FAS" account can be on either of these servers:

However, they have different versions of programming software installed and different capabilities. For our programming, we'll be using nice, although you can check e-mail or transfer files on either of them.
Once your account is set up, you'll need the software to be able to connect. If you're on a Mac, you can look in Applications/Utilities/ and find the Terminal program. Open a window, and at the prompt type:

     ice1:~ % ssh
Replace username with your FAS account name. Type your password when asked, and you're in.
If you are on a PC, you will need to download some software from Harvard to make your connection. Go to the FAS Computing page ( and click the link for Software Downloads. After you log in with your HUID and PIN, you'll be taken to a downloads page. You should get copies of SecureCRT (for telnet sessions) and SecureFX (for file transfer). Harvard has a group license covering all students which includes Extension students. Install this software on your computer. When you start SecureCRT, it should open a dialog box with a list of Harvard connections, and allow you to select FAS or NICE. If you need to create the connection, you can type the hostname into the connection box. Be sure the protocol is set to SSH2, enter your username, and click Connect. As the connection is made, you may be asked to save an authentication key, and you should click Accept and Save. You will then be asked for your password, and you will be connected to your account.

We do sometimes use FAS e'mail, which you can get to by either going to in a browser, or by typing 'pine' at the telnet prompt. I generally point new users to Harvard Computer Society's Unix PDF for more on how to use your account. To submit homework, we'll ask you to first upload it to your FAS account, then run a built-in program named 'submit'. This is described in the link above for submitting homework.


Unix Help
VI (ignore "Before You Begin")

Useful Downloads
These editors have graphical user interfaces (unlike the Unix editors above) and some will do automatic formatting. All are designed for programming and will not add extra format characters as word processors do.
Programming Editors - PC:
EditPad Lite
Programming Editors - MAC:
UNIX Editors are available in the Terminal program (emacs, vi, pico).
There are other editors available - two that we will note here are TextWrangler - students have had significant formatting problems with it so we do not recommend using it for Java. The second is Dr. Java, which does not adhere to the requirements for imports and compiling, so we also recommend against using it.