Help Sessions

PICSciE staff at a Help Session assisting a student.

PICSciE staff, Carolina Roe-Raymond and Jonathan Halverson during a Help Session with a student.

Upcoming Help Sessions

Weekly Help Sessions(Thursday)
May 26, 2022, 2:00 pm
Weekly Help Sessions(Tuesday)
May 31, 2022, 10:30 am
Weekly Help Sessions(Thursday)
Jun 2, 2022, 2:00 pm

Beginning the week of March 16, 2020 the help sessions are by video only due to COVID-19.

The help sessions are now held remotely through Zoom. The times will remain the same (Tuesday 10:30-11:30 am, Thursday 2-3 pm). However, participants must make an appointment with us ahead of time and, if suitable, work with us through email before the scheduled appointment so that we are better prepared for our one-on-one meeting.

Please be aware that we have limited staff and that we may not be able to accommodate every requests for one-on-one appointment. If you have a technical issue we encourage you to follow the steps outlined on this page:

While there are certainly issues that are better addressed through a Zoom meeting, a vast portion of problems we are seeing are solved more expediently through email. In addition, all emails are received by the same email system, so it's easy to start a conversation outside of the help session queue and then move it into our help session queue if we decide your issue will be best solved through a one-on-one meeting.

Here are the steps that you need to take to make an appointment during the help sessions:

  1. Send an email to with:
    • on the subject line: the word HELPSESSIONS and a short summary of the reason you would like to talk to us. For example:
      • Subject: HELPSESSIONS Installing Python software
      • Subject: HELPSESSIONS Installing R package
      • Subject: HELPSESSIONS Writing SLURM script
    • in the body of the email: a detailed description of the problem you are trying to solve.
  2. One of the Research Computing staff will respond to your email and may ask you some follow-up questions to see if we can solve your problem immediately instead of waiting until the next help session. If the problem cannot be solved through email, he or she will let you know when is the next available timeslot for one-on-one help.
  3. On the day of the help session, one of us will send you an email approximately 10 min before the start of help session with the information to join a Zoom meeting. Use that information to join the meeting and start working with the person who was assigned to you.

While we recognize that this is not as convenient as the regular help sessions, we are hoping that this will provide a way to help you with those problems that are difficult to solve through email.

Looking for some help getting started? Can’t get your code to run? This is an opportunity to meet with Research Computing staff for one-on-one help. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Getting started on the HPC clusters
  • Understanding and troubleshooting error messages
  • Installing and compiling software
  • Writing SLURM submission scripts
  • Data science and machine learning
  • Visualization
  • Transferring and storing data
  • Debugging
  • Improving performance
  • Programming strategies
  • And many more

Think of this as CSES office hours. Unfortunately, we are not available to meet outside of these hours. If you have an issue and you are unable to attend a help session then please submit a ticket by emailing

Read a short article about the help sessions.

Visualization Help

You can get help with visualization programs, techniques, and data formats. In particular, how to effectively display your data.

If you are working with large amounts of data on the Princeton High-Performance Computing environment, you can use the tigressdata server to run visualization software on the data.  See the FAQ article, "How do I use VNC on Tigressdata?" for more information.

OIT Tech Clinic

If your issue relates to your own computer or relates directly to the Windows operating system then we encourage you to visit the OIT Tech Clinic.

Data & Statistical Services (DSS)

All questions about writing Stata code should be directed to DSS. Research Computing can help with problems related to running Stata code on our clusters. For help on R with data analysis please see the DSS website. DSS offers online tutorials and training for performing data analysis with R as well as one-on-one appointments. Issues related to running R on the HPC clusters are best addressed at the weekly help sessions described on this page.

DataX: Data Science

To extend the help we can offer in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science we developed a collaboration with DataX. When you request an appointment through our ticketing system with an issue related to those fields, we will contact the DataX Data scientists to see if one of them is able and available to help and, if so, they will meet with you during one of our help sessions. These sessions are co-sponsored by DataX and the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning.