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Learn about the basics of computing at Penn

As a Penn student, faculty member, or staff member, you have access to an array of information technology resources to support your academic and professional activities. Here's what you need to know to get started.

Computing overview

In Penn's decentralized environment, technology information is provided locally, by Schools and departments, and centrally. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with your departmental or School computing web site to find out about the facilities, services, and resources available to you, and how things are done in your area.

Local computing support

End-user support is delivered locally by College House Technology technicians in on-campus student residences and by Local Support Providers (LSPs) in Schools and business offices. They typically provide advice on hardware/software purchases, assist with installation, and troubleshoot software, hardware, and network connectivity problems. Check the Primary Support Services page to find out how to reach your LSP or College House Technology staff. For faculty and staff needing support for home computers, the University has negotiated special rates with an outside vendor.


Schools and departments provide email accounts to their affiliates. Several different email clients (software used to read and send email) are supported on campus and are distributed free of charge. If you're affiliated with a School, check the document Email Specifications by School to find out which clients are recommended in your School; staff in central business offices should check with their LSPs. Email addresses, personal web site URLs, phone numbers, and campus addresses for faculty, staff, and students are listed in the Online Directory. Departmental email addresses can be found on departmental web sites. You are responsible for keeping your directory information up-to-date (PennKey required).