Guide to the Materials Virtual Lab.



This page is to provide a step-by-step overview of how to work effectively in the MAVRL for new students and postdocs. We are a highly IT-enabled group that uses the latest technologies to work effectively. We use the following:

  • Slack for intra-group communication
  • Dropbox Business for sharing of files and data
  • Github for software version control
  • Mendeley for reference management and collaboration
  • Crashplan for backup.

Step 1: Practices and procedures

You should first read the admin guide to understand expectations and policies with regards to working procedures.

Then, briefly read publishing to get a very quick overview of the standards that are expected for papers and presentations. It is extremely important that you come back to this list when you write your papers and do your presentations. Under no circumstances should you submit papers or presentations that do not meet these minimum standards.

Step 2: Know your group members

Check Group jobs page in to find out the list of group jobs and the group members in charge.

Enter your contact details into the Contact list. You should provide a cell number where you can be reached at all times. Rest assured that no one will use this unless it is absolutely urgent to contact you.

Step 3: Buy a computer

For all newcomers, we offer you the opportunity to purchase a computer. It is highly encouraged that you use a Mac laptop as it facilitates other group members helping you if you run into problems. Configurations should be reasonable - mid-range CPU and good RAM, a SSD (do not bother with non-SSD hard drives, even though they are cheaper). Send your proposed configuration for approval before purchase.

Step 4: Setup your new Mac

See computing guide.

Step 5: Setup your backup

Contact the Backup Manager and set up Crashplan for your laptop. This should be the first thing you do after your initial Mac setup. See computing guide.

Step 6: Setup accounts on Github, Dropbox, Mavrldb, Mavrldata, and clusters

Contact the relevant group members (see Group jobs) to set up your accounts on Github (Software Manager), Dropbox (Backup Manager), mavrldb (DB Manager), and mavrldata (Data Manager), and our compute clusters (Cluster Manager). Read the computing guide to understand what each of these does. Follow the instructions there to setup your cluster for computations.

Step 7: Intra-group messaging, coordination and sharing

We use various messaging and document sharing apps for internal-group communication platform. For messaging, MAVRL mailing list is the tool for email mass texting while slack is a useful app for research discussion based on the projects. We also use Dropbox for document sharing, Google calendar for schedule sharing and Mendeley for references sharing. Contact Backup Manager for new user settings of the following accounts.

  • Mailing list: We use UCSD mailing list for email mass texting. The email address is Group members can receive/send emails from/to this address.
  • Slack: Slack is an internal-group message app used for research discussion or private messages. Channels are created on a specific topic or project, which is easy to keep track of. Github+Circle CI notifications and google calendar events will be shown in Github and general channel for tracking, respectively. If you have important message that needs someone‚Äôs attention, please use @<name> function (similar to that in other platforms like Facebook and WeChat).
  • Dropbox: For paper and other document sharing, we use Dropbox Business. Different projects are stored in different folders. Enable the 2-step verification in Security Settings and choose a strong password since there are many important documents like unpublished papers or data there.
  • Google calendar: We have two shared calendars (MAVRL and MAVRL Class Schedule). Group events like group meetings need to be marked in MAVRL while class schedules of graduate students should be updated quarterly in MAVRL Class. For approved vacations, group members also need to enter the period of absence in MAVRL group calendar before leaving (see Group admin for more details).
  • Mendeley: For reference management, we use Mendeley extensively and exclusively to enable collaboration and sharing of references.
  • This wiki: We share useful information and resources on this wiki. Contact the Web Manager so that you are added to the list of users.