Computer Services Recharge Center (CSRC)

Department policies on accounts and their costs

Reviewed by bil hays 2017-03-06

New Computer Services Rates

Effective January 1, 2015:  $621 per FTE per month

The dollar figures given below for research and BASS accounts were adjusted accordingly on this date.


The UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Computer Science is a nationally recognized leader in cutting edge research and teaching, having been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as first in the nation in Graphics: User Interaction (commonly referred to as “virtual reality”), 13th in systems, and tied for 20th overall. Our faculty, staff, postdocs, affiliated researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students require a highly sophisticated computing environment and level of technical support.  Through the Computer Services Recharge Center, we provide the required technical staff to provide these critical services.

This Recharge Center is reviewed by the University periodically to ensure it is in compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations, including the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR § 200), as well as the Federal Cost Accounting Standards and applicable University policy.  Rates are adjusted annually to ensure that the Recharge Center is operating on a strict cost recovery basis.  The current rate is $621 per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) per month. Rates apply to each user and are charged based upon each person’s salary distribution, e.g., if a person works 50% on one project and 50% on another during the month, each project pays 50% of the fee for that month.  All employees and students are assessed the same rate without regard to their salary source (federal, state, foundation, commercial).  No additional fees are charged and all services included within the Recharge Center are available to all users.

General Computing Environment

The department’s computing environment includes over 1000 computers, ranging from older systems used for generating network traffic for simulated Internet experiments to state-of-the-art workstations and clusters for graphics- and compute-intensive research.  Departmental servers provide compute service, disk space, email, CVS (version control software), web service, database services, backups, and many other services.  All systems are integrated by means of high-speed networks, described below, and are supported by a highly skilled technical staff who provide a consistent computing environment throughout the department.  Each student is assigned a computer, with computer assignments based on the students’ research or teaching assignments and their seniority within the department.  In addition to the departmental servers and office systems, our research laboratories contain a wide variety of specialized equipment and facilities.

Departmental computing systems include around 750 Dell computers, 140 Lenovos, 130 IBMs, 70 Suns (in the BASS supercomputer), 110 Macs, plus about 70 other computers.

Our systems primarily run the Windows 7 operating system, with a smaller number of systems, including many of the servers, running Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, and FreeBSD.  We use the AFS file system for central file storage.  Languages most commonly used include J++, C++, and Java.  Document preparation is usually accomplished with standard applications on PC systems.  Our extensive software holdings are continually evolving.

The department’s computer systems are connected to one another by a high-speed data network.  The network provides switched 100 megabit connections to every desktop, plus fiber, video, and multiple voice and data connections in each office.  Special purpose systems and switches, as well as a number of our workstations, use gigabit connections. The campus Internet II connection is in Sitterson Hall and provides even higher speeds for applications that require it.

Services Provided by the CSRC

The Computer Science Department’s Computer Services Recharge Center provides a wide variety of services for its users. Most of these services are either unavailable from ITS or only available on a fee for service basis. Even when services are available from ITS, the CSRC provides a substantially greater level of service and customization to meet the department’s specialized research and education needs. Examples of services that go far beyond what is available to other campus employees are given below.

7X24 emergency support

CSRC personnel share an emergency pager and are available to handle emergencies around the clock. This may entail bringing systems up after power outages, handling water leaks or HVAC outages, troubleshooting server problems, or responding to literally any issue that our users consider an emergency.

On-site Dell and Macintosh hardware support

Two members of the CSRC staff are Dell Certified Technicians, and one is an Apple Certified Technician.  This allows our staff to provide in-house warranty service on Dell and Macintosh computers as well as service once the warranty runs out, and our technicians have access to special rapid channels for obtaining repair parts, so they can fix these systems far more rapidly than would be possible.  60% of the department’s 1200+ computers are Dells.

Special event support

When the department’s faculty host conferences on campus, CSRC staff provide on-site technical support.   This includes support for attendees connection to the our wireless network, A/V support, recording of talks, teleconferencing support, and assistance with any other conference needs.


The CSRC staff provide user data backups for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh desktop systems as well as backups for departmental server systems.

Video projector support

CSRC staff provide custom installation and maintenance for video projectors in faculty offices, often with two projectors in an office.

The above services are simply not available to other University employees unless their department pays ITS or their own technical staff for the service.

Telephone service

The department has its own telephone switch, supported by CSRC personnel.  All faculty and staff have department provided voice mail and telephones in their offices, and we also have telephones in all labs, conference rooms, and classrooms.  When a user changes offices, CSRC moves the telephone number from the old office to the new, so no one’s number ever changes.

Detailed list of services

  • Operating system support (Windows/Linux/Mac)
    • installation
    • upgrades
    • patching
    • reghosting
    • troubleshooting
  • Application support (standard and additional applications)
    • ordering
    • installation
    • upgrades
    • troubleshooting
  • Computer and peripheral configuration and ordering
  • Backups
    • AFS
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
  • Computer security
    • monitoring
    • firewalls
    • intrusion prevention
  • Email service
    • SMTP (mail forwarding,, mail lists)
    • Department Google domain administration (mail storage and retrieval)
  • Web services
    • department web servers
    • CGI server
    • class web services
    • custom administrative web pages
  • Databases
    • administrative systems – development and support
    • user systems – limited disk space and backups
  • CVS, Subversion, and Git version control systems
  • Other central software services
    • Disk service (AFS, NFS)
    • Software update service
    • Antivirus control service
    • Software distribution (Windows, Mac)
    • Domain controllers (Windows)
    • DNS, DHCP, NIS, LDAP, time
    • Compute and login service (Linux)
    • Calendar service (through department Google Apps domain)
    • ITWorks (administrative data) service
  • User accounts and disk space
  • Software licensing
  • Training – one-on-one and in groups
  • Documentation
  • help web pages
  • Network
    • standard production network
    • specialized research setups
    • wireless
  • Telephones
    • voice connections
    • voice mail
    • moves
  • Projector installation and maintenance
  • Multimedia and video recording
  • Videoconferencing
  • Room control systems (AMX)
  • Graphics hardware support
  • Computer hardware maintenance (Windows/Linux/Mac)
    • initial setup
    • troubleshooting
    • warranty and post-warranty repair
  • Printers
    • black and white
    • high quality color
    • lesser quality color
    • large format color (plotter)
  • Copiers and scanners
  • Equipment moves
  • Building security
    • access control
    • video
  • Electrical, HVAC, plumbing
  • Inventory
  • Special event support
  • Emergency support
  • Interface with campus support group, ITS


Please note, our billing policy is currently under review.


1. Faculty and Staff

The fee is $621 per month per FTE.  Part-time employees will be charged based upon the fraction of an FTE represented by their work schedule, e.g., a 30 hour per week employee will be charged 75% of the full fee.  The fee will be paid by the source(s) of salary support for the employee, e.g., if 60% of an employee’s salary is paid from a particular grant, then 60% of the CSRC fee will also be paid from that grant.  When state supported faculty or staff are cost sharing their time to particular contracts or grants, the fee may be charged to the contract or grant based upon the cost shared effort.


2. Graduate Students

Academic Year

The typical graduate student has an assistantship that requires him or her to work 20 hours per week during the academic year.  Thus 50% of their CSRC fee is charged to the account(s) that pay their support.

Summer Months

During the summer, students work 40 hours per week on research projects and are not enrolled in classes . Therefore, their full CSRC fee is charged to the appropriate research project account.

Special cases
  • Part-Time Students: Since part-time students generally do not have an assistantship and take only half the full-time course load, their CSRC fee is 12.5% of the full-time rate.  This fee is charged to appropriate state instructional/educational accounts.
  • Fellowship Students: Fellowship students have the option of affiliating with a research project for 10 hours per week.  If they choose to affiliate, their CSRC fee is divided as follows: 25% to the research project paying their supplement and 25% to their fellowship.
  • Students with Primary Work Site Outside Sitterson: Since computer science students sometimes work for a department outside of Sitterson Hall, their use of CSRC resources for their assistantship is less than students who conduct their assistantship within Sitterson Hall.  Therefore, the source of their assistantship will be charged at a rate between 5% and 50% of the normal rate as certified by the faculty member sponsoring the graduate student based upon their knowledge of the user’s activities.


3. Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students with a declared computer science major will be given an account for the duration of their program of study.  Since they typically are not heavy users of CSRC services, their fee is 2% of the full CSRC fee and will be paid from state instructional/educational accounts.

Other undergraduate students taking a course that requires access to the Department’s computing facilities will be given an account for the duration of the course only.  Their fee is 1% of the full CSRC fee and will be paid from state instructional/educational accounts.

Undergraduate students working on research projects are typically not heavy users of CSRC services.  Their fee will vary from 5-25% of the full fee, depending upon the number of hours worked, e.g., a student working 40 hours/week would pay 25% of the full fee and a student working 10 hours/week would pay 6.25% of the full fee.  This fee will be paid from the contract or grant that supports the student.


4. Alumni and Retired Faculty/Staff

Alumni and retired faculty/staff are given an account for the primary purpose of reading mail on the department’s Google Apps domain, accessing web pages only accessible to department members, and perhaps maintaining a small web page.  These users will be charged 1% of the full CSRC fee.  The fee will be paid from departmental funds and the Department Chair will serve as the faculty sponsor.  Their home directory space will be limited to 4 GB for retired faculty and staff and 800 MB for alumni.


5. Collaborative Researchers/Visiting Faculty or Scholars/Faculty on Leave/Other Guests

Faculty members can sponsor accounts for collaborative researchers (either on-campus but outside the Department or from other campuses), visiting faculty or scholars, or other guests.  Most of these users are not in Sitterson Hall or Brooks Building, they do not have access to some of the services included in the full fee, and those who do have office space here usually use limited resources from the CSRC during their stay.  In addition, department faculty may be on leave from UNC and travel to another location for their leave period, thus using limited resources from the CSRC during their leave.  Therefore, these accounts will be charged at a rate between 5% and 50% of the normal rate, i.e., between $31.05 and $310.50 per month, as determined and certified by either the faculty member sponsoring the researcher/visitor/guest or the faculty member on leave, based upon their knowledge of the circumstances.  Note that the rates for users whose accounts are not charged to a UNC account number are 52% more for a given FTE level, as required by University policy.


6. BASS-only accounts

Accounts that only allow logins on the Biological Analysis and Simulation Supercomputer (BASS) are considered a special case of the collaborative researcher account and are charged at a flat rate of 4% FTE.  This is $24.84 per month.  Note that the rate for users whose accounts are not charged to a UNC account number is 52% more for a given FTE level, as required by University policy, that is, $37.76/month.


7. Single Use Accounts

Other account services such as access to Google’s domain are available at a 2.5% FTE rate. Note that the rates for users whose accounts are not charged to a UNC account number are 52% more for a given FTE level, as required by University policy.