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Off-campus connections to Teer Machines will require a VPN to work - see OIT Alert 4100 for details. If Teer machines will not connect, try a VCL: VCL#Using_a_Linux_VCL_and_MATLAB

View between the two wings of the Fitzpatrick Center[1]


Welcome to the Pratt FAQ, hosted at If you are new here, you may want to start out by reading the Pratt Wiki Introduction. If you are coming to Duke in Fall of 2014, you may also want to read Recommended Hardware.


Teer Machines Down / Iffy

Teer Machines will be down / iffy for a bit: use VCL's instead. See VCL#Using_a_Linux_VCL_and_MATLAB for details.

New Shortcuts

Dr. G has created two pages describing some potentially handy UNIX shortcuts that you can add to your own accounts. For newer users, these are at BASH Shortcuts; for older users, they are at TCSH Shortcuts. In UNIX, type

echo $SHELL

to see which you should use.

Connection Time Out

  • Teer machines now time out after 10 minutes of inactivity. The easiest way around this is to add the following line to the end of your .bashrc file or .cshrc file in your main CIFS directory. First, log in to a Teer machine and type
echo $SHELL

If the result is /bin/tcsh, edit the .cshrc file; if the result is /bin/bash, edit the .bashrc file. Here's the code to add:

xeyes -geometry 1x1-1-1 &

If that puts an xeyes window on your screen, try

xeyes -geometry 1x1-1-100 &


Note - if you are a /bin/bash person and have never made a .bash_profile before, you will need to make one. See the information here This code will start the xeyes program in the background, but will put it off screen so you will not actually see it. When you close the terminal or PuTTY window, xeyes will close as well.


  • xMaple is now run with xmaple17

Printing from LaTeX Documents

Due to an error in okular/CIFS and a missing program for evince, the process for actually printing a LaTeX document has changed slightly. Further documentation coming soon but the summary is:

  • latex file.tex
  • dvips -t letter file.dvi
  • evince &

Now, any time you want to re-process the file, you need to run both latex and dvips on it to get a new version of the ps file. Fortunately, evince will load any new ps file that comes up. You can then print from evince without any troubles. Admittedly, one more run is required but at least it works!


Anything of urgent concern will go here. Also see OIT Alerts and Dr. G's Machine States page for more information about possible outages.

  • Some course numbers have been updated; others haven't. Work in progress!


This wiki is specifically devoted to asking and answering questions Pratt students may have about computational methods, MATLAB, LaTeX, and other software or hardware tools typically used in engineering classes. As a start, there is an EGR 103 Startup page for people new to Pratt and in EGR 103 and there is a Welcome Back page for people who need some reminders about how things work or where they are.

We will also include Pratt-specific information about Student Groups, Recommended Hardware, and things of that nature. Finally, some classes will use pages on the wiki as reference material - these classes will show up as categories on the bottom of relevant pages, and the pages will be collected in a category page, such as the one at Category:EGR 103.

Front entrance to Fitzpatrick Center[2]
Front entrance to Hudson Hall[2]
Front entrance to Teer Building[2]

Top entrance to Vinik Building[3]

Getting Help Working With Wikia

This wiki uses MediaWiki, the same program used by Wikipedia. If you are familiar with that program, you are pretty much good to go here. If not, the Wikipedia Tutorial should come in very handy, especially the parts on editing, formatting, and talk pages. Wikimedia also has a list of help pages for editors.

Asking Questions

Post your questions by editing the discussion page of an article - just click on the discussion tab at the start of the article. Edit the page, then scroll to the bottom and add a question by putting in the characters {{Q}}, followed by your question and finally your signature (with four tildes, i.e. ~~~~). Using the {{Q}} will automatically put the page in the category of pages with questions - you can see this page at Category:Questions. Other editors hoping to help out can then go to that category page to see where the questions are. See the page for the Q Template for details and examples.

For general questions, go to the General Questions page. You should still use the {{Q}} template as well as your signature.

What Can You Do?

At present, there are three places to check out areas identified as needing help. One is the To Do list, which will be a running update of wiki-centric tasks such as which templates and categories have been added. Another is the Projects page, where people can either request additions to the site or look to see possible new pages to create. With respect to the latter, the Wanted Pages page will automatically list any dead-end links that need pages.

Finally, people can use the Q Template on talk pages to place the page on a category page called Category:Questions - go there and you will see pages with as-yet open questions. If you answer a question, please consider using the A Template to let folks know you have answered a question.

Third floor of the Atrium in the Fitzpatrick Center[1]

What Can We Do?

The Community Portal is a good place to discuss the future of this site. As an example, the first discussion in the portal concerns how best to organize "frequently asked questions" - feel free to jump into that conversation or start a new one!


This site is primarily a project of Dr. Michael Gustafson (whose typical screen name is DukeEgr93). If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, you can contact him via e-mail at mrg(at)duke(dot)edu or by leaving a message on DukeEgr93's talk page.


  1. a b Duke University Photography
  2. a b c Wikimedia Commons, by Bluedog423
  3. Wikimedia Commons, by Specious