Faculty and graduate students in the CSE department will make use of various software during their time with the department. Some of this software is used to provide for basic needs. Other software is used for specific areas of research.

Some commercial software is available at no cost (through site licenses, faculty purchases and manufacturer agreements). Other software must be purchased at either discounted rates or full price (depending on whether the manufacturer has an agreement with the university or offers academic pricing). In some cases, open source software is available to meet your needs.

CSEHelp can assist faculty and graduate students with a variety of software packages. Some software used within the department was purchased by individual faculty members or research groups. You must go through your adviser or research group to gain access to such software.

Listed below are common software packages used by faculty and graduate students in the CSE department. Included with each package is information on how it is made available and what costs are involved (prices and availability of software are subject to change). If there is a particular piece of software that you need which is not listed below, you can contact CSEHelp and see if it is available. If it is not available from one of our free sources, we can purchase it for you if you provide a campus index to cover the purchase price.


e-academy is a service that allows software companies to offer software downloads across the Internet. In our case, e-academy provides MSDNAA software and VMware software for the department. All faculty and graduate students should have been sent an E-mail message with account information to access e-academy. If you no longer have this E-mail or are having difficulty logging into the e-academy site, please contact CSEHelp. Please send your E-mail to CSEHelp from a UCSD E-mail address and include your name and your campus user name (if you are using an alternate UCSD E-mail address). Also list which software you would like to download. Once your request has been validated, you will receive a new E-mail message from e-academy, to your UCSD E-mail address, with the necessary login information.

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional is available through Microsoft's MSDNAA program at no charge through e-academy. See e-academy, above, for more information. For more details on MSDNAA, see

Microsoft Office

Microsoft office is not available freely. However, it is available at a substantially discounted price. You have two options for purchasing Microsoft Office:

  1. Purchase through CSEHelp. We provide licenses through the campus Microsoft Select program. Microsoft Office Pro Plus is available for $49.44. Microsoft Office for Mac is available for $40.02. These purchases are brokered by ACMS and they add a $20 transaction fee to the cost. Please note that these licenses require that your computer be connected to the campus network or that you use the campus VPN if you take your computer off campus. For more available Microsoft products, see

  2. Purchase through bookstore. The UCSD bookstore provides Microsoft Office Pro Plus for $79.99 and Microsoft Office for Mac for $69.99. Each faculty/staff/student is entitled to purchase one personal copy of the software at this price. This license does not require that your computer be connected to the campus network. Note that these “student license” packages are kept behind the register (you will need to specifically ask someone in the computer store for the software). For more information, see

Please note that the above versions of Microsoft Office do not include Microsoft Visio (Visio is available via MSDNAA through e-academy, however).

If you only need basic word processing and spreadsheet functions, you might want to consider the freely available OpenOffice or LibreOffice products.

MSDNAA software

In addition to Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (Home and Ultimate versions are not available), MSDNAA provides a number of other software packages useful to software developers. For example, MSDNAA provides visual studio. However, it does not provide Microsoft Office and the games that normal MSDN provides. MSDNAA products are available at no charge through e-academy. See e-academy, above, for more information. For more details on MSDNAA, see

VMware software

VMware software, such as VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion, is available at no charge through e-academy. Please note that these licenses expire after one year. See e-academy, above, for more information.


Matlab is available through a site license for CSE faculty and graduate students.  See the following link for details:

You must be connected to a wired network connection on one of the school of engineering networks to download the software.  Once installed on your computer, you may use it from anywhere on campus (including wireless).  If you need to use the software from off campus, you must be connected via VPN.

There are a fixed number of concurrent use Matlab licenses and, to a lesser degree, Matlab toolbox licenses that can be used at any one time across campus. For more information on which toolboxes are available and how many concurrent licenses are available, see

Matlab is already installed on some department servers and workstations (such as the A.P.E. lab workstations). You may use Matlab on these other computers if you only need it on a limited basis and you don't want to go through a full install on your workstation.

Macintosh OS X

Macintosh OS X upgrades can be purchased through the campus bookstore or through the Mac App Store.

Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is available for Windows or Macintosh for $56.75. These purchases are brokered by ACMS and they add a $20 transaction fee to the cost. You may contact CSEHelp to purchase these licenses. For more information, see

Also, check the current price at the bookstore. Sometimes they have sales on Adobe products.

If you are just looking to generate PDF documents from something that can normally be printed through another application (such as Microsoft Word), you can consider free products, such as PrimoPDF, as an alternative.

Specialized tools

CSEHelp maintains licenses for a variety of specialized tools for different research groups. We can provide access to software and licenses with the approval of the faculty member who acquired the license. Please check with your advisor and/or your research group to determine which tools are normally available to your group. CSEHelp does not manage all of such software products/licenses used within the CSE department. Your group members may be able to point you to resources that CSEHelp does not have information on.

CSEHelp does maintain licenses for some productions from the following vendors for different research groups:

  • Intel
  • IBM/Rational
  • Xilinx
  • Aldec
  • Mentor Graphics

Recommended free software

  • Microsoft Security Essentials – Virus protection
  • Linux – Various flavors: Ubuntu, CentOS, etc.
  • cygwin – Unix like environment under Windows
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice – Word processor, spreadsheet and other office applications
  • PrimoPDF – Print to PDF