The UPL (Undergraduate Projects Laboratory) is a space for students at UW Madison with an interest in computer science to meet, work on awesome projects, participate in fun comp-sci focused events, and make new friends. The work done in the lab ranges from UNIX programming, to computer modeling and graphics, to cryptography, to making games. You can come to learn about the systems on just about any level. You can also learn programming on many levels. However, the best way to learn in the UPL is to come in and talk with other people there. You can usually find some sort of discussion going on and should always feel welcome to jump in.

Where are you guys?

The UPL is in the Computer Sciences building, ground floor. We’re in that triangular room with the glass windows at the top of the ramp coming from the entrance facing Union South.

Do I need to be a CS major?

No! While we’re a CS focused organization, you don’t need to be a CS major!

Do I need to be an undergraduate student?

No, you do not. Anyone who is a registered student with the University is welcome to use the machines and resources of the lab. We do have a few graduate students that frequent the lab as well.

How do I contact the UPL?

You can contact us in numerous ways:

Email us all at: u…
Like us on Facebook!

Or you can always send us a letter! The Undergraduate Projects Lab
Computer Sciences Room 1341
1210 West Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53706

Who runs the UPL?

Our faculty advisor is Professor Bart Miller, who can be reached at: b…

Coordinators, “coords” for short, handle the day to day operations of the UPL. These operations include paperwork processing, system administration, and organizing events as well as other tasks.

What is the history of the UPL?

We’re glad you asked! The UPL has been in existence in the CS Department since the 1980s.

If you would like to know more about the UPL’s history, drop by sometime, or check out our History repository on GitHub.

Contributions, updates, and stories are always welcome!

Printed Resources

The UPL has a library that contains books on computer related topics. Do not remove any books from the UPL without the consent of a coord. Many books are the personal property of various members who are generously making them available.

What sources of help are available in the UPL?

The people! We’ll always do our best to answer your questions. Email us all at: u…

When is the UPL open?

In brief, almost all the time. Each coordinator has set two hours a week as office hours; at these times the UPL will be open. Office hours are posted on the door to the UPL and are available online.

Most coords spend a lot more than two hours a week in the UPL though. The lab is usually open from late morning to late night every day. Any time the UPL door is open, you can come in to talk to a coord or use the lab facilities.

Note that during the summer months and during school holidays, the lab is open far more sporadically. Remote access is still possible though.


UPL accounts are available to all students currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. To get an account, come to the UPL and talk to a coord. If you have any other account within the CS department, your username for the UPL will be the same as your other CS account(s) username.

Account Policy

The UPL was established for students to learn about computers. While we support exploration of the system, it is important to be considerate of the other users of the system and the security needs of the UPL. Alongside the code of conduct which all UPL members must abide by, the following rules represent guidelines on appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Violation of these rules may lead to your account being locked or deleted.

  1. You may not break into other accounts, break into other computers, use UPL resources to crack passwords, or otherwise use UPL resources to subvert any established security system. You may not attempt to steal passwords, files, or other system or user information from these or other computers.

  2. You may not delete any other user’s files, or disrupt the accessibility, usability, or performance of another user’s account. You may not harass or threaten any other user either here or at another site.

  3. You may not disrupt the accessibility, usability, or performance of any UPL resources. Distasteful or offensive displays, printouts, or stored files are not permitted, and will be removed.

  4. Passing of copyrighted material to another (“pirating”) is prohibited.

If you have an interest in testing system security, or you want to use UPL resources in a way that may disrupt performance, please contact a coordinator to make appropriate arrangements.

Can I log in from home?

Yes! Run the command ssh [username]@[any machine: doge, enderman, beast, etc...]

Disk Space and Files

The UPL has limited disk resources. Therefore, we must impose a disk usage quota on accounts.

Learning UNIX

There is no one really good way to learn UNIX. It depends a lot on how you learn in general. Our systems have extensive online manuals, plus there are many books and manuals in the UPL. You can learn a lot, though, just by watching others, exploring around the system, and asking questions!