To use our systems you will normally need to work within the command-line environment of a terminal session.

The easiest way to start a session is via our Jupyter Hub: log in, start a new "1 CPU 4GB" Server, then File → New → Terminal

More frequently, though, you'll use a Secure Shell client running directly on your computer.

  • Linux and Mac OS open a Terminal on your desktop and type  ssh -XY username@login.cx1.hpc.imperial.ac.uk , substituting in your own college username, and entering in its password when prompted You'll need to be on the College network, or connected to the VPN.
  • Windows Use the PuTTY Secure Shell client, which you will find installed on managed College machines.
  • iOS and Android Check their respective app-stores for SSH clients from reputable vendors. Note that on-screen keyboards tend not to be very convenient for command-line work, as non-alphanumeric characters aren't always quickly accessible. 

Running Graphical Applications

Some applications, for example, Matlab and Gaussview have a graphical user interface. You can still use these even when running on our systems. To do this, though, you may need to configure your personal computer with an X Server. How you do this depends on your computer's operating system:

Linux

All the linux distributions with a graphical desktop will have an X server running by default. You won't have to install anything extra.

Windows

Download and install Xming. Ensure it is running before you connect to our systems. If you are using a Cywin or Windows Subsystem for Linux terminal, do "export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0" before following the instructions below.

Mac OS

Download and install XQuartz. Ensure that it is running before following the instructions below.

Prepare the connection

You need to connect to our systems with a special "Enable X11 forwarding" flag to allow graphical windows to be displayed on your screen. This will depend on your client/operating system.

Command-line SSH clients

On Linux and Mac OS you have to use a terminal to connect using a regular ssh client with the "Enable X11 forward" flag "-XY".

Your connect command will look like:

            ssh -XY user@login.cx1.hpc.ic.ac.uk

Other SSH Clients

On all these clients you will have to look for the "Enable X11 forwarding" option.

For example on Putty, one of the most used SSH clients for Windows, you will need to navigate to Connection -> SSH -> X11 and activate the "Enable X11 forwarding".