Accessing SCF machines and resources

Basic access

The most basic access to SCF computers is via SSH to get to a command-line on the machine of your choosing. You can copy files to and from the SCF filesystem in a variety of ways.

Example: to SSH to the SCF Linux server named arwen, you'll need to connect to From there you can see your home directory, connect to other SCF machines without using a password, and start jobs on the SCF Linux cluster. 

What machines can I use?

You can browse the list of the SCF computers on our Computer Grid page. It is sortable by free computing cycles, free memory, and other relevant parameters. Once you are on an SCF machine, the following commands will also list the machines you can connect to and run jobs on.

  • Linux compute servers: 'sitehosts compute'.
  • Mac computers in Evans 432: 'sitehosts 432'
  • Mac computers in Evans 342: 'sitehosts 342'

Note: you can run jobs remotely on the Macs, but please do not run computationally-intensive jobs on these machines during the day as such jobs could inconvenience users who are actually sitting at the machine.

If you are connecting from within the SCF and are using a Macintosh computer, choose 'File Menu->Connect to Server' from within Under Secure Shell or Secure File Transfer, you will see a list of all Linux and Macintosh computers that you can connect to.

Running graphical programs from an SCF machine

You can remotely run GUI-based programs on the SCF machines, displaying the GUI on your local machine. This works for all graphical programs on our Linux machines and for X-windows based programs on our Macs but not for Cocoa-based programs on the Macs. These instructions will tell you how to view such programs on your own Windows or Mac machine.

Browser-based access to Jupyter notebooks and to RStudio

You can use Jupyter notebooks (IPython, R, and iTorch notebooks as well as terminal sessions) and RStudio via a browser, with the notebook or RStudio session running on one of our SCF machines.

Better alternatives for accessing the SCF filesystem

Copying files via SFTP or SCP can be tedious and requires you to have to deal with the possibility of different file versions on your personal computer and on the SCF filesystem.

  • An alternative available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines is to mount your SCF home directory as a directory on your personal machine.
  • Oe, if you have a Mac or Linux desktop that you keep in your office in Evans, SCF can maintain that computer for you as an SCF-administered machine. In this case, you will have direct access to your home directory, mounted via NFS, as for all SCF machines. Please manager [at] stat [dot] berkeley [dot] edu (email us) if you are interested in this.