Cella: A kick-ass tool to help you out with the housing lottery

If you’re participating in the Housing Lottery (aka Shelter Games), you’ve got until Wednesday the 11th (numbers 1 through 460) or Tuesday the 17th (461 through 697) to map out your strategy. Which (at least for my freshman and sophomore groups of 11 and 8 people, respectively) meant contingency plans upon contingency plans upon contingency plans. Historically, it has proven a huge pain in the ass to navigate the huge amount of room info, past results, and other pertinent information from the Res Council website: there’s just so much.

Fortunately, some students created a tool to make the process at least 10,000 times easier (actual mathematical figure). Nathan Malkin ’13 and Sumner Warren ’13 have developed Cella over the past semester as a successor to their CS32 project Domus, a desktop app with similar functionality created with Miya Schneider ’13. This tool is incredibly versatile as well as informative. It uses a database of rooms and your preferences (only want to live on Main Campus? Want to live anywhere but Pembroke? Know what dorm you want to be in?) to provide you with tons of options for a group of a specified size, also taking into account your lottery number in comparison with past results in order to rank the probability of each room. It also provides links to floor plans and other info specific to each dorm (gender neutrality, apartment rate, etc.). If you want to play around with different breakdowns of a large group, create as many separate searches in separate tabs as you want. Check out their About page to see what else the tool can do, or better yet, go forth and experiment. The design is incredibly intuitive and easy to use.

May the odds be ever in your favor.