About Cella

Cella is a web-based application to help participants in the Brown University Housing Lottery identify desired rooms conveniently and efficiently.

It is developed by Nathan Malkin and Sumner Warren and is a successor to Domus, a desktop application with similar goals, built by us and Miya Schneider for CS 32.

Questions and Answers

What do I do?

Choose your lottery number (or an estimate for it) in the box at the top. Select the checkbox if you are a sophomore. (This includes sophomore-only housing in your search.)

Then, choose the occupancy of the rooms you want to search for and the buildings to include, or exclude, in the search.

That's it!

Did you know? You can...

What does the probability bar mean?

The probability bar represents how likely we think it is that you will get this room. This prediction is based on the room's performance in previous years and the lottery number you entered.

A full (green) bar means you have a good shot at getting this room. An empty (red) bar means your chances of getting this room are slim.

But don't trust us (too much). The prediction is based on results from previous years, which aren't necessarily predictive of future results. Some rooms may have few old results, affecting the quality of the prediction. Additionally, renovations of rooms and buildings may affect their desirability.

The actual calculation of the probability is performed by fitting a logistic model to a room's previous lottery numbers. We thank Neil Thakral for this suggestion.

How recent is the availability data?

Before the lottery, the availability data is updated based on the online lottery projection every two hours.

During the lottery, data will be updated every 30 seconds, and any changes to availability will be reflected in your result lists right away - no need to refresh the page!

Is that a mistake in your data?

Maybe. We got the information directly from the Lottery website and haven't verified it manually. Also, sometimes rooms change between years, making the past results less meaningful for calculating probability.

However, thanks to Neal Poole, the 2012-2013 data has been corrected and verified as matching ResLife's list of available rooms.

If you do find an inaccuracy in the data, we would appreciate it if you reported it to us: just send us an email.

Something's broken! What do I do?

  1. Refresh the page. Does it work?
  2. Reset the application using the link at the bottom of the page. Now try again. How about now?
  3. Let us know about the problem you experienced: submit it to our issue tracker or send us an email.

I don't like the way ----- works. I think Cella should do -----.

We are always looking for feature suggestions. You can add your suggestion to our issue tracker or send us an email.

How does this work? Can I see the source code?

Sure! The project code is on GitHub. Feel free to peruse (and contribute!).