Biology Computer Resource Center (BCRC)

This site is hosted on the BCRC server "snapper". It provides services in support of the BCRC, Life Science courses, and the teaching labs in Morrill Science Center. Most of the pages *about* the BCRC are now part of the Biology Department pages about the BCRC, including our list of resources and documentation.

For printing in the BCRC, there are the print release pages. If you're in the ISB, you need the print release on wahoo. If you're working in the ISB, you'll get redirected there automatically, if you try to connect the print release system on snapper.

There is a BCRC Wiki, which we mainly use for scheduling.

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi

Do you have a Raspberry Pi that you got last Christmas (or sometime) that you never got working? Or would you just like to learn more about Raspberry Pi? The Biology Computer Resource Center (BCRC) and Makers at Amherst Media are teaming up to offer a workshop at 10am-3pm on Saturday Dec 16, 2017 for people to bring their Raspberry Pi to the BCRC and get help setting it up.

We also invite Raspberry Pi cognoscenti to join us to help beginners and show off projects they've made.

The BCRC has 24 monitors and keyboards: just bring your Pi, MicroSD-card (8GB or larger recommended), and power supply. (You can also bring your own monitor or keyboard if you like).

During the morning, we will demonstrate and provide help to:

  • Choose a current operating system
  • Create a bootable SD card
  • Boot your Pi and do basic configuration (e.g. wifi)
  • Update your operating system
  • Keep your Pi secure
  • Access the GPIO (light up an LED with the pins)

Over lunch, presenters will demonstrate projects they've made with Raspberry Pis and talk about ongoing projects, or projects they'd like to work on.

During the afternoon, we invite you to find a Raspberry Pi project to work on and help others work on theirs.

Note: We will also have a few extra raspberry pis that you can use if you don't have one, but want to try it out. If you bring your own SD card, you can take it with you and use it when you get your own Pi.

BCRC Hiring

Each semester, the BCRC usually hires a few students to work in the BCRC. We're looking for people who are passionate about technology and who want to use their time in the BCRC to explore some new aspect of technology that could benefit the BCRC. Email the director, Steven Brewer, for more information before Friday Sept 8. Preference given to students with workstudy.

Extended Finals-week Hours

The BCRC will be open afternoons on Saturday May 6 and Sunday May 7. For more info on the BCRC during finals week, check out Finals Schedule to see whether staffing is available.

Good luck on finals!

Print on Provizonta

Update: provizonta is online, but jams when printing 2-sided. Try printing single-sided for the moment.

Currently, both printers in the BCRC are unavailable. We are getting them evaluated and repaired as quickly as possible.

For the curious, ronkonta is in the shop and we hope to get it repaired and back online as soon as possible.

Ronkonta Out-of-Service

We have taken the printer ronkonta offline until we can get it serviced.

Thanks for your patience!

Hot Chocolate!

Come to 215 Morrill III from 2:30-4:30 on Thursday, Dec 15 for hot chocolate and finals survival kits. Be there, or be trapezoidal!

Finals Support


Come to the Biology Rejuvenation Station for refreshments: Morrill III South Room 215
Friday, December 16th thru Wednesday, December 21st
Take a break from studying and pick up a snack and a cup of coffee.
Coffee available all day! 7:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Bagels, muffins and coffee cake delivered at 8:15 until they run out!
Pizza delivered at 12:00 first come first serve.
Let us help you get through finals!!

BCRC Hiring

Every semester, the BCRC needs to hire a few students -- preferably with workstudy. If you're interested in working in the BCRC, check with the Director.

BCRC Open Weekend Before Finals Week

We're planning to have the BCRC open at noon on both Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, in advance of finals week. We anticipate being open regular hours during finals week.

Visual SFM

We've recently installed Visual SFM a GUI application for 3D reconstruction using structure from motion (SFM). It's an application that can create 3-D models from a group of overlapping photographs. To run it, start X-Windows and type "VisualSFM &" at the command prompt.

Rejuvenation Station

Stop by the Finals Week Biology Rejuvenation Station: Morrill 301 on May 1, Morrill 215 afterward.

Thanks to Elizabeth Connor for organizing!

Weekend Hours

The BCRC will have weekend hours: noon-9pm on April 25 and 26 and noon-5pm on May 2-3.

Good luck on Finals!

Library Questions

Ellen Lutz will be in the BCRC on Thursdays from 3-4 for people to ask questions.

Jobs Filled

Our openings for Spring have been filled. Thanks to everyone who expressed interest. And welcome to Jessica, Fallon, and Innocent our new BCRC staff.

The BCRC will probably need to hire some consultants this semester. If you would like to work in the BCRC, please contact Steven Brewer. I will give preference to people with workstudy.

Raspberry Pi Home Theater Media Server

Just In Time For Christmas! Our own Craig Slater with Makers at Amherst Media and the Biology Computer Resource Center invite you join us on Friday, December 12 to build your own HOME THEATER MEDIA SERVER using Raspberry Pi. You will purchase your own parts (~$125), bring them to the workshop, and we will assemble them together! Space is limited! Register today!

Librarian Lunch Break

Stop by the BCRC (315 Morrill III) for Librarian Lunch Break every Wednesday at noon (starting Sept 24) to ask a Real Live Librarian how to use the UMass Library and find information.

BCRC Construction

As of May, the BCRC construction is moving forward rapidly. You can see trenching in the floor where they're creating space for floor jacks for power and networking.

BCRC Renovations Underway


It's not much to look at now, but in August 2014, this space will have been transformed into the new BCRC. Demolition of the old space is currently underway and a new BCRC is being built in Morrill III.

As you wrap up classes and take exams, don't forget to say goodbye to our old space: It's been our home for 20 years.

Good luck with final exams and best wishes for safe and productive summer!

Amherst Media Maker Community Launched

The Amherst Media Maker Community has launched, has set up a mailing list and is now holding weekly meetings at Amherst Media for people interested in working on Maker projects.