PACE Lab Manual

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Our Goal and Values

Language Processing, Acquisition, and Change Laboratory (PACE Lab) is a team of researchers at various stages of careers who work together, in a safe and inclusive environment of mutual trust, support, and respect, towards shared scientific and individual professional development goals. Please read and follow the expectations of lab members.

If you have any concerns about lab operations or your role in the lab, please share them with Evgeny. You may send an anonymous message to Evgeny via the “Anonymous Message” workflow on Slack (enter “Anonymous Message” in the search box).

Quick Tips: How do I…


...use Slack?

You will have received an invitation to join our workspace on Slack. We use Slack for day-to-day communications in the lab in lieu of email. Please make sure to promptly accept this invitation. It would be also very helpful if you could upload a photo to your Slack profile so other people in the lab can put a face to your name. If you'd like to receive notifications of new messages and be able to quickly respond, you can install a Slack app on your phone.

Once you join Slack, you will see that there are two main types of communication: “Channels” and “Direct messages.” We use project channels (e.g., #prowrite or #dragon) for communicating project-relevant information (such as scheduling meetings with team members or communicating time sensitive project information), and you will find that there are other channels for communicating different types of information (e.g., #announce for important news and announcements; #random for “water cooler conversation”). Most conversations in channels take place in threads so as to not clutter the feed; therefore, if you are tagged in a message on one of the channels, you should respond using “Reply in Thread.” We use direct messages sparingly for personal communication that would not be necessary to share in a public channel.

You will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire for “Alpaca”, our lab's Slack bot that we use for scheduling meetings and processing different types of notifications in Slack. When you get messages from Alpaca, please make sure that you review them and take appropriate action. These messages are not spam. :-)

For more tips, see the Project Management How-To.

...use GitHub?

In addition to Slack, we also use GitHub ( in the lab as our primary project management tool. If you do not already have an account, you would need to create one. Please send your GitHub username to Evgeny. He will then send you an invitation to join a repository for the project(s) you will be working on. Please accept that invitation once you receive it.

Once you join GitHub, you will likely be assigned to “Issues” corresponding to the tasks that you are asked to complete. We ask that you document your progress on these tasks by commenting in the issue periodically. It is particularly helpful to add a comment to document when you have completed a task. Other lab members who act as project managers or supervisors may ask for updates on your progress. This is not intended to rush you, but instead to simply understand your status in accomplishing the task and to offer support as needed.

For more tips, see the Project Management How-To.


...log my time? (for hourly employees)

Any time you are working on a task or attending a meeting for your paid work, you should log your hours on WorkDay. You must "check in" at the beginning of working and "check out" when you are done. Please be diligent about checking in and out on WorkDay to ensure that your hours are logged accurately. It's best to download the WorkDay application on your phone. If you are working on multiple projects in the lab, please pay extra attention to the project for which you are logging your hours. We need to ensure that you are paid accurately from each funding source.

You must "submit" your hours every week. Please submit your hours by 10:30 am on Monday for the previous week of work. You can (and often should) submit your hours before this time, but you should ensure that you do not log additional hours for that week after submitting your hours (i.e., you can submit your hours for the week on Friday if you will not be working on Saturday). If you forget to submit your hours by this time, your paycheck may be delayed.

Please see this resource for instructions on entering, correcting, and submitting your timesheet.

...schedule a meeting?

The preferred method for scheduling meetings with other lab members is through the use of the Alpaca bot on Slack: Run the "Schedule a meeting" shortcut (type "Schedule a meeting" in the search box). Fill out the form that appears. Your meeting will be automatically put on the lab calendar, and all invitees will receive invitations from the Alpaca bot on Slack.

If you are creating a meeting invite through a calendaring app, add as an attendee. This will send your meeting invite to the PACE Lab calendar automatically.

For more tips, see the Calendar How-To.

...convert a time zone?
In any channel on Slack, type the /util command. Some examples:
  • /util 10am in London — what time 10:00am Ames would be in the London timezone?
  • /util 12:30 Turkey — what time in Ames would correspond to 12:30 in Turkey?
  • /util 16:00 Taiwan in Seattle — what time in Seattle would 1600 in Taiwan correspond to?

working in the lab office space in Ross 226?

Ross 226 is our primary lab space. Evgeny and some graduate assistants have desks in this space, but this is also a room that is open to all members of the lab. You are welcome to hang out or do your own work in this room. If you would like a key to this room, please request it through the "Access Request" workflow on Slack (enter "Access Request" in the search box).

...connect to the lab network?

You can connect to the lab network via Ethernet (wired connection) and Wi-Fi (wireless connection). All wired connections that are available at each desk in Ross 226 are already on the lab network. To receive instructions on connecting to the lab network via Wi-Fi, please type the command /util wifi in any channel on Slack. You must be connected to the lab network to use the lab printer or to cast your screen to the lab TV.

...print on the lab printer?

Connect to the lab network (see above) and add the printer Brother HL-L2325DW. This is a consumer-grade printer. Consider sending larger printing jobs to the official university printers.

...turn the lab TV on or off?
In any channel on Slack, type /util TV on or /util TV off. Note that the TV screen is automatically turned off during evenings and weekends.
...cast my screen to the lab TV?
  1. Locate the HDMI switch (small box in the far left corner of the desk under the TV screen), and press the button to select channel #2.
  2. Connect to the lab network (see above).
  3. Open Google Chrome, click the "more" button (three vertical dots), and select "Save and Share" and "Cast".
  4. Select the source you want to cast from the drop-down list (the tab or a full screen), then select the "PACE Lab TV" target.

doing science

...start a new project?

On Slack, launch the "New Project Idea" workflow (enter "New Project Idea" in the search box). Document and submit your idea through this workflow.

Policy: Anyone in the lab can propose a new project idea. All ideas must be approved before new projects can be launched. Evgeny approves new project idea after a thorough discussion within the lab. "Side projects" of lab members are often encouraged and sometimes inevitable (e.g., course projects). However, we recognize that such "side projects" can distract lab members from their commitments to the lab, as well as require other lab resources. Therefore, a discussion within the lab is expected before a lab member commits to a side project.

Longer How-Tos