Help

There are many ways to get help with your scientific computing and data needs - in fact, so many you don’t know what to use. This page lists who is available to help you, and ways of contacting them.

Formulate your question

We get many requests for help which are too vague to give a useful response, so we delay while we try to find something better than “please explain more”, which slows everything down. So, when sending us a question, always try to clarify these points to get the fastest solution:

  • Has it ever worked? (If so, what has changed?)
  • What are you trying to accomplish? (Your ultimate goal, not current technical obstacle.)
  • What did you do? (Be specific enough to be reproducible - copy and paste exact commands you run, exact output messages, scripts, inputs, etc.)

If you don’t know something, it’s OK, just explain the best you can and we’ll go from there! You can also chat with us to brainstorm about issues in general, which helps to figure out these questions. A much more detailed guide is available from Sigma2 documentation.

We don’t need a long story in the first message - we’ll ask for more later. Try to cover these points, and we are happy to get your message.

Places to ask for help

At Aalto, there are many different places to ask for help.

Scientific Computing, Triton, and HPC

We are focused on all aspects of computing and data, and mostly consist of PhD-level researchers. Our main sub-programs are high-performance computing (Triton), research software help (RSEs), and data.

  • Problems with Triton, using Triton
  • Help with software on Triton
  • Data advice, FAIR data, confidential data, data organization
  • Suggestions on tools and workflows to use
  • General research software and research tools
  • Advice on other Aalto services
  • Advice on using CSC services
  • Triton Accounts (by email)
  • Increasing quotas, requesting group storage space (by email)

You can reach us by:

  • Searching this website
  • The Triton issue tracker, which is where most Triton and scientific computing issues should go, even if not directly Triton related.
  • Weekly SciComp Garage sessions, where you can informally chat. Especially useful when your question is not yet fully defined.
  • You can chat with us on Aalto Microsoft Teams. The invite code is e50tyij. This is useful for quick things.
  • There is also an email address (get it from our internal wiki). Use this only for things related to your account, quota, etc. - most other things go to the tracker above.

Department IT

CS, NBE, and PHYS have their own IT groups (among others, but those are the Science-IT departments with the most support). They handle local matters and can reliably direct you to the right resources. Department IT handles:

  • Computers, laptops, personal devices
  • Department data storage spaces
  • Other department-managed tools and services

Reach them by:

  • Department-specific email addresses

NBE and PHYS IT use the same email issue tracker (esupport) as Aalto IT, so issues can be exchanged no matter which address you send an issue to. CS uses a different one, so you have to think a bit more before sending something.

servicedesk, Aalto IT

servicedesk()aalto.fi is the general IT Services service desk. They can handle things with account, devices, and so on. They have a wide range of responsibilities, but don’t always know about local resources that may be more appropriate for your needs. There is an “IT Services for Research” group which focuses on research needs

For students (who aren’t also researchers), this is always your first point of contact - in addition to your teacher.

servicedesk handles:

  • Aalto accounts, passwords (including Triton passwords)
  • University-wide data storage (work, teamwork, home directories)
  • All university-wide common IT infrastructure: wifi, network, devices, websites, learning platforms, etc.
  • Anything department stuff, when you are not in a department with local IT staff.

Reach them by:

Research services

Aalto Research Services function more as project administative services rather than close research support. However, they provide important information for:

  • Data management plans for funding applications
  • Legal or ethical advice, making contracts and NDAs.
  • Library services
  • Applying for funding and administering it.

In many cases, you can chat with Aalto Scientific Computing and we can give some initial practical advice.

Reach research services by:

  • Contacting service email addresses at the link above
  • Contacting school representatives findable at the link above

Community

In addition to formal support, there is are informal activities, too:

  • The weekly SciComp Garage, designed to provide one-on-one help, but we invite anyone to come, hang out in the main room, and network with us. This is for basic help and brainstorming.
  • Subscribe to notifications from the Triton issue tracker even if you don’t post there. You will learn a lot.
  • Sign up for the Research software engineers and powerusers mailing list and learn about more events that interest you. This isn’t the place to ask for basic help, but if you hang out here you will learn a lot.