Contact Helpdesk - Best Practices

Tips for Contacting the Computing Science Helpdesk


  • Only email the helpdesk for CMPT related technical issues, NOT for questions about coursework or assignments.
  • Read the guidelines below for more information about contacting us. 

Include the following information in your email to the helpdesk:

First Name and Last Name: 
SFU Computing ID
Student Number: 
* Access Card/fob Number (if it is readable, many are worn off): 
** Course Numbers (current CMPT courses): 
Platform (eg. Linux, Mac or Windows): 
Computer Name: 
Campus, Building Name & Room Number: 
Application (if applicable): 
Description of the Issue: 
Error Message (if any): 
Previous Tickent Number (if related): 

* Only if this is a door access issue, send the short 5 digit part of the number, (only if the number is readable, some are worn off.)
** If you are a TRU student, please note this in your email.

If you are requesting assistance from a specific person on the technical team, please name them in the body of your email. 

To stop web crawlers, we are not providing you with the option to copy and paste the helpdesk email. Please re-type the address when composing your email. 

Behind the Scenes - What Happens When I Contact the Helpdesk?

We use the Request Tracker (RT) System to manage inquiries to the helpdesk. The system is regularily monitored by members of the CMPT technical support team. We strive to respond to your ticket within one hour during our regular business hours. 

  • Upon reciept of an email, the RT system generates a reply to the requester with a ticket number. To add more information to your request, reply to that email with those details.
  • The ticket will be assigned to a member (owner) of the tech support team.
  • The owner will assess the inquiry, resolve the issue, and reply to the requester. If other parties need to be notified, the owner will cc them on the email. 
  • Once the issues have been resolved, the owner will update the status of the ticket to read 'resolved'.
  • All replies are archived under the specific RT#; requesters have the option of viewing these.
  • Please ensure you reply to the helpdesk with an email that includes the ticket number. 

Before Contacting the Helpdesk

  • Ensure that your inquiry is a technical issue related to Computing Science (eg: if you could not access SFU's wireless network, please email help AT sfu DOT ca. 
  • If you're a guest of Computing Science and require the use of SFU's wireless network, please contact your faculty member host and they will contact us with the request. You could also use Eduroam if you have an account from another institution. 
  • Always use your SFU email account to contact us. Do not use a different email account or an alias to contact us. 
  • When contacting the helpdesk, ensure that the message is addressed to only ONE recipient: helpdesk
  • When responding to the helpdesk, do not alter the subject line, and only include the relevent portion of the previous message body. 


May I Contact Tech Support Staff Directly?


We ask that you contact the helpdesk, and include a line in the body of your email that says: please assign this to.........

If this is an urgent matter, please call the person after you email the helpdesk.


How Do I Include Others in Correspondence With the Helpdesk

When contacting the helpdesk, and include a line in the body of the email that says: I would like to add the following people to the CC list......, ......, ......, 

The owner of the ticket will add these people to the cc list when replying, ensuring everyone's informed about the issue. 

Do not CC others on the email:

  • only the requester will recieve a reply to the email sent to the helpdesk. Those who are cc'd will not. 
  • If anyone cc'd on an initial email from a requester tried to reply to the helpdesk, a new ticket would be generated, causing further confusion. 


No Response From the Helpdesk - Now What? 

Inquiries sent to the helpdesk are typically assigned within two hours during working days. If you do not recieve a response within a reasonable amount of time, you can reply to the automated message you received when you submitted your request. 

If you do not think your inquiry received proper attention, please call one of our department managers for assistance. 


I work in a CMPT Research Lab - Will the Helpdesk Assist Me?

Yes, absolutely!

When you email helpdesk, add your lab's acronym to the subject line. Eg: Subject: CMPT-AAA: Need New Software. We have put a list of the acronyms at the bottom of this page. Please check them out

If you are a CS graduate student, click here for a page we prepared to assist you with techincal support


Is it ok to Include Muliple Issues in One Email?

Yes, this is fine. Just ensure you number each issue to that each one is responded to. If need be, we will create separate tickets for the issues, handling them at the same time so there's a timely resolution. 


I've Had This Issue Before - Now What?

Please contact the helpdesk, and include the RT# ticket number that was issued the first time. We will link the old and the new ticket number together, so we ask that you don't reply to the old ticket number. 


Everything is Fixed - Should I Contact the Helpdesk?

No, not unless we request you to do so. Once the issues have been resolved, we will close the ticket, marking it 'Resolved'. If you have another issue, create a new email and send to the helpdesk (if it's related to the previous issue, include that RT ticket number). 


I Received an Email from the Helpdesk With an RT# - What Do I Do?

Here are some things you may consider:

  • If you would like to track the request call, you may email helpdesk with the proper subject line, which will put you in the CC group and keep you informed of the ticket.
  • If you do not want to become a CC-ed member, you may email the parties directly, not CC helpdesk.
  •  When you received a message from someone CC-ed to you with an RT#,
    • if you want to join the discussion of this ticket (become a CC-ed member) 
    • and/or if you want to see your replies get archived in the RT system, 

Please reply to helpdesk with the proper subject line, not to the other sender directly (they will receive your messages through the RT system).

Please note:

If you "Reply All" to a ticket with other parties, they will get duplicate messages: one from you, one from the RT system.

Please always reply to helpdesk with the proper subject line.


Should I Contact Other Tech Support?


If you know certain issues should be taken care by another party, e.g: RCG (Research Computing Group), please indicate this in the body of your message. If we need to contact them, we will do so on your behalf.


I Sent One Message and Recieved Two Replies.

If the helpdesk identifies multiple issues in your email, we may create another ticket and assign it to another member of the team. This helps speed up the process as most issues will be addressed at the same time. 


I Received Duplicate Emails From the Helpdesk - Now What?

It's most likely that you've been set as the 'Requester' and are also a member of the group being cc'd. We do our best to minimize duplicated conversations, but it happens sometimes. This is one reason we ask that you always have the helpdesk set up as the sole recipient of your messages. 

If you receive duplicate messages, please reply to the email containing the RT# so the owner can ensure no more duplicates are sent. 


The Helpdesk Replied With a Different Subject Line - Why?

To improve the quality of service, we try to make the subject line as clear as possible. Since the RT# is the identity of the ticket, the change of the subject line wording is a safe practice.

If you notice the new subject line does not reflect the issues, please let us know as soon as possible.


How Do I Check the Status of My Ticket?

If you contacted helpdesk using your SFU account, you can check the status of your inquiries. Please go to this web page and key in the RT# (only the digits) and you can view all the messages related to this ticket.


I Use a Laptop - Will the Helpdesk Support Me?

Please click here for information about using your own laptop. 


list of CMPT research labs

Research Labs - Burnaby Campus
Acronym AKA Official Name Room #s Directors Remarks
CMPT-3DLG cs-3dlg 3D Language Lab TASC1 8000, TASC1 8002, TASC1 9404 Dr. A. Chang shares room with APEX & VML
CMPT-ACO cs-theory Algorithms, Complexity, and Optimization Group TASC1 8201, TASC1 9001 Dr. Bhattacharya, Dr. Kabanets, Dr. Krishnamurti, Dr. Shermer aka. Theory Lab
CMPT-AIRob airob-lab Autonomous Intelligence and Robotics Lab TASC1 8005 Dr. Ma  
CMPT-APEX cs-apex Algorithmically Principled EXploration TASC1 8000 Dr. K. Li shares rooms with 3DLG & VML
CMPT-ARCH cs-arch Computer Architecture Group TASC1 9400 Dr. Shriraman, Dr. Sumner  
CMPT-Auto cs-autolab Autonomy Lab TASC1 7000, TASC1 8001 Dr. Vaughan  
CMPT-CBL cs-compbio Computational Biology Lab TASC1 9000 Dr. Chindelevitch, Dr. Sahinalp, Dr. Wiese  
CMPT-CLL cs-cl Computational Logic Lab TASC1 9201, TASC1 9404 Dr. Bulatov, Dr. Delgrande, Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Ternovska, Dr. Schulte include research group cs-schulte
  Cloud Computing Lab      
CMPT-CVL cs-colour Computational Vision Lab TASC1 8005 Dr. Funt  
CMPT-DBL cs-dblab Database and Datamining Lab TASC1 9006
Dr. Ester, Dr. K. Wang  
CMPT-DEAL cs-deal Data Engineering and Analytics Lab TASC1 9406
Dr. Pei aka.Pacific Blue Cross Health Informatics Lab
CMPT-DIS cs-dis Data-Intensive Systems Lab TASC1 9400 Dr. T. Wang  
CMPT-DSL cs-dsl Database System Lab TASC1 9217 Dr. J.N. Wang  
CMPT-HCI cs-hci Human Computer Interaction TASC1 9200 Dr. Chilana  
CMPT-HCVC cs-hcvc Human-centric Visual Computing Group TASC1 8000, TASC1 8002 Dr. A. Chang, Dr. Savva  
CMPT-IXLab cs-ixlab Interactive eXperience Lab TASC1 9200 Dr. Carpendale, Dr. Chilana includes HCI
CMPT-LFPL   Logic and Functional Programming Lab      
CMPT-MARS cs-mars Multi-Agent Robotics Systems TASC1 8001, TASC1 8005 Dr. Chen  
CMPT-MICA   Medical Image Computing and Analysis     inlcudes MIAL and MCL
CMPT-MIAL cs-mial Medical Image Analysis Lab TASC1 9003 Dr. Hamarneh
CMPT-MCL   Medical Computing Lab   Dr. Atkins  
CMPT-NLL cs-natlang Natural Language Lab TASC1 9404 Dr. Popowich, Dr. Sarkar
CMPT-NML cs-nml Network Modeling Lab TASC1 9002 Dr. Gu, Dr. Liu
aka. Network Modeling Group
CMPT-NMSL cs-nmsl Network and Multimedia Systems Lab TASC1 8208 Dr. Hefeeda, Dr. Peters shares room with RSL
CMPT-PARG cs-parg Program Analysis Research Group TASC1 9400 Dr. Sumner  
CMPT-PDCL cs-pdcl Parallel Distributed Computing Lab TASC1 9400 Dr. Vora  
CMPT-RSL cs-rsl Reliable Systems Lab TASC1 8208 Dr. Ko shares room with NMSL
CMPT-STL cs-stl Software Technology Lab TASC1 9431 Dr. Glässer aka Software Engineering Lab
CMPT-SYNAR   Systems Networking and Architecture Research TASC1 9400 Dr. Shriraman, Dr. Sumner
aka Systems Lab
CMPT-Vivarium   a group of CMPT-ENSC joint labs     includes GrUVi, MIAL, SCIRF, VML
CMPT-GrUVi cs-gruvi Graphics, Usability, and Visualization Lab TASC1 8000, TASC1 8002, TASC1 8004 Dr. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Tan, Dr. Yin, Dr. Zhang
CMPT-VML cs-vml Vision & Media Lab TASC1 8000, TASC1 8002 Dr. Drew, Dr. Furukawa, Dr. Z.N. Li, Dr. K. Li, Dr. Mori, Dr. Savva  
CMPT-RandAlg cs-randalg Randomized Algorithms Lab      
Research Labs - Surrey Campus
Acronyms AKA Official Name Room #s Directors Remarks
CMPT-GOL   Grad Open Lab SUR 4112    
CMPT-BIO   Bioinformatics Lab SUR 4190 Dr. Wiese  
CMPT-Health-Hub cs-dhh-user Digital Health Hub SUR 4190 Dr. Wiese, Dr. D'Arcy CMPT-Health-Tech
CMPT-OSL   Open Source Lab SUR 4120 Dr. Cameron  
  NeuroTech Lab Surrey NeuroTech Lab Surrey Memorial Hospital Dr. D'Arcy  

To know more about the research lab you are in, please visit our "Resources for Research Labs" page.


Last updated @ 2021.11.16