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5 Recent Alumnus

Technology: So much free software. Free Windows, free VPN clients, FTP/SSH clients, etc. Our computer labs (called Athena clusters) are numerous and all over the place. You can print tons for free. And MIT internet is pretty darn fast. Wifi is available practically everywhere. I'd say you should have your own laptop just so it's very convenient, especially if you are Course 6 (electrical engineering and computer science). But, you can easily do without a laptop as there are many many Athena clusters.

7 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Technology: It's MIT... The technology is good.

9 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Technology: Most students have their own laptop but if a student cannot purchase his or her own MIT will help cover the cost. There are also many labs and computers in almost every dorm and most buildings.

4 College Freshman

Technology: I don't use them much, but when I do, it's great

5 College Sophomore

Technology: You don't need a computer, but it helps. Athena clusters (rooms full of desktop computers) are everywhere and printing is free, but having your own laptop is more convenient so you don't have to always be working in a cluster.

3 people found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Considering MIT’s reputation, it should come as no surprise that computers are everywhere on campus. The large number of computer labs (commonly known as “clusters”) don’t even include the various “quick stations” (one or two computers primarily used for checking e-mail) set up all around campus. The network, known as Athena, was designed in the mid-1980s, long before network computing was commonplace. Today, students use public workstations to check e-mail, download music, finish papers, analyze data, and much more. Finding an available workstation is usually very easy, although you should avoid the main clusters the day before large computer science classes have projects due and around finals time. In fact, it’s always good to know where a few of the smaller clusters are in order to avoid crowds.

Although Athena has everything you could possibly want, you should bring your own computer, mainly for convenience. MIT students have strange hours and habits, so having your own computer allows you to do your work when and how you want. Most of main campus has a reliable wireless network, so it’s a good idea to consider buying a laptop. That way, you can work or surf the Web on campus, outside, or even during class. A laptop is also convenient for those students whose homes are far away, so not only can you take all your files with you when you go home for vacations, but you also don’t have to worry about hauling your monitor to storage. However, as with all valuables, just make sure you’re careful with your computer, as laptop theft does occur now and then.

Facts & Statistics

Wireless Access
24-Hour Labs?
All labs are open 24 hours
Charged to Print?
Special Software & Hardware Discounts
Discounted software can be purchased through GovConnection, an online catalog, on the MIT Information Services & Technology Web site.
Did You Know?
AOL Instant Messenger is based on a program called Zephyr that was created (and is still used) at MIT.

Student Polls

Rate computers on the following subjects    Based on 53 responses

Very weak
  • Availability of computer labs
  • Campus tech support
  • Free/discounted software
  • Number of computer labs
  • Printing cost/quota limits
  • Reliability of network
  • Speed of network
  • Technology in classrooms and labs
  • Wireless availability

How necessary is it to bring your own computer?    Based on 44 responses

  • 2% Don't waste your money; there are plenty of computers to use on campus.
  • 18% Not necessary for school work but relatively important for socializing and entertainment.
  • 80% Extremely important, especially when the labs are crowded during semester crunch times.
  • 0% The school supplies each student with their own laptop.
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