Resources for Experimenters

Calibration Sources

An inventory of calibration sources at the NSCL will be mailed to NSCL users upon request. Please contact the Manager for User Relations.

Computer System

Supported Software at NSCL

Computer Trouble Reporting

If your experiment is receiving beam and you require immediate assistance, please contact anyone in the NSCL Control Room. They will pass your information on to available computing staff.

For less urgent problems, please contact the computer help desk:

  • by sending an email to
  • by calling 407
  • by going to the IT help room, room 2210

Visitor Laptops: How to Connect to the Network

All outside user laptops are required to either use the university provided wireless network or the designated "Public-net" network ports in the Data U areas.
Guest access to Michigan State University's wireless network is available throughout the laboratory. Please see MSU Wireless Support for more information. If you need further assistance once on-site, please contact the help room at extension 407.
The Data U area "Public-net" switches provide 10/100 Mb connectivity to the internet for laptops that do not use the wireless network.

Computer Account for Experiments

An experimental computer account has two separate disk subdirectories associated with it, each with its own lifetime and purpose. One is used for collecting event data, while the other is used as a ‘home’ directory, containing data acquisition programs and other experiment-related files.

  1. The account’s ‘home’ directory, to be found under /user/expnumber, is the directory you get dropped into when you log into a UNIX/linux machine. It can also be mapped as \\intranet\files\user\expnumber from a Windows PC. When your experiment is over and the account gets deleted, so does this filespace and anything in it. This is where your dotfiles reside that determine your operating environment, PATH, etc. There is a 1Gb quota on this filespace, so do not put event files here! This filesystem is backed up nightly by the computer group.
  2. “Event space” to spool your data during an experiment will be assigned to you shortly before your run commences, and will be removed after the data has been written to tape, and within 2 weeks of the end of your allotted beam time. These event areas mount as /events/expnumber, but only on the computers in the data acquisition area.

Data Acquisition

Detailed information on the NSCL data acquisition system can be found at Each supported device has its own device physicist/contact person. Experimenters should work directly with that contact person to get first line data acquisition support. provides links to the support information for each of these devices. If you need clarifications or additional details, please contact the computer help desk (