Connect from your personal computer to another computer

Here we introduce in brief a few methods to connect and work with remote computers to perform data analysis. The remote computer can be a desktop computer or a HPC cluster system. I’ll call it “host” for the remote computer, and “guest” for the computer through which you connect to the host.

Mount shared drive to a Windows computer

  1. From Windows Explorer, right click on “This PC” and select “Map network drive”
  2. In the “Map Nework Drive” window enter the path to the share \\\hgrcgrid_statgen and select “Connect using different credentials” then “Finish”
  3. Enter your username as nimaster\Uni along with your Neurology/work computer password.

(Above are notes from Thashi and Anu)

Through VS Code

vscode is my text editor of choice, as with many others in the lab. Some lab members wrote a very good introduction how to use VS Code to edit text on remote computer.

Through Rstudio server

Access to Rstudo server, as documented on this page, is very straightforward once Rstudio server is installed. Notice that the URL needs to be http:// and not https://.

JupyterLab server on Columbia Neurology HPC

The goal is to setup a JupyterLab server so you can access an interactive analysis environment on the cluster from your local computer.

Install JupyterLab environment

Follow the instructions on this page to configure software on the cluster.

Start JupyterLab server on a compute node

Submit as a job. We already have it on the cluster here(/mnt/vast/hpc/csg/pbs_template). Please copy it to your home folder, modify it as necessary then submit it:

  1. copy it to local account directory: cp /mnt/vast/hpc/csg/pbs_template/ ~/
  2. modify it as necessary. modification to the template may include:
    1. Different requirement of memory and wall time
    2. Additional bash configurations before the command to launch jupyter-lab, eg if you follow the micromamba setup tutorial you will need to include additional configurations:
     source ~/
  3. submit it qsub, or to send it to a particular partition, qsub -q csg2.q -l t_pri, or to a particular node, qlogin -q csg2.q -l t_pri -l h="node80"

Create your ssh tunnel to access the server

Find information needed from the out file of the above submitted job (for example) :

cat jupyter-notebook-831088.login_info

‘831088’ is the job ID, which would be different for your case, replace it with your job ID.

Find the line looks like the following one in your output file, copy paste it into a new terminal window that is not connected to the cluster:

ssh -N -L 8476:node31:8476 <your UNI> 

Access the server from web browser

Find information needed from the .out file of the above submitted job (for example) :

cat jupyter-notebook-831088.out

‘802790’ is the job ID, which would be different for your case, replace it with your job ID.

Copy the URL in this .out file and paste it into a browser to launch your jupyter lab.

Note: If your are using Windows WSL with its default terminal there is a chance that using export PATH=$HOME/micromamba/.local/bin:$PATH gives “jupyter-lab command-not-found” error in the .out file. Change it to export PATH="/home/[your-uni]/micromamba/bin:$PATH" fixed the problem – you need to expand $HOME manually.

JupyterLab server on RCC at UChicago

For University of Chicago RCC (last connected Spring 2020) we can run JupyterLab on compute nodes and connect to it directly via SSH tunnel, along the lines of this post. It does not involve running anything on the login node.

This script works for UChicago RCC midway HPC. Here are instructions.

Connect to a stand alone desktop or cloud VM through command shell

For other standalone Linux and Mac systems in the same network (we no longer have this set up in the lab any more — you can skip it).

Get IP address

First, obtain the IP address or domain name of the host computer. You may either be provided with the information, or you can run in command terminal (for a Linux host):

sudo ifconfig 

to see the IP address. For example:

$ sudo ifconfig
eth0: flags=4163<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        inet  netmask  broadcast
        inet6 fe80::ae1f:6bff:fe11:ab10  prefixlen 64  scopeid 0x20<link>
        ether ac:1f:6b:11:ab:10  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 123292  bytes 105881116 (100.9 MiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 130328  bytes 41654696 (39.7 MiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0
        device memory 0xc7200000-c727ffff

eth1: flags=4099<UP,BROADCAST,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        ether ac:1f:6b:11:ab:11  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0
        device memory 0xc7100000-c717ffff

The information you should be looking at is the inet property under eth0, which in our case is (this is the IP address in my local network domain).

Connect via SSH

On the guest computer, type

ssh username@

where username is the account name you have on the host machine. Please replace with your IP address. If it fails, it might be possible that your host machine does not support SSH access. In that case you need to install SSH server on your host. For a Debian / Ubuntu host:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

If you want to be able to use graphical interface for apps on your host, for example use firefox to browse internet from host, you need to connect through -X option, eg,

ssh -X username@

Create a user on the host machine

If you do not have a user account on the host, ask whoever administrates that machine to create one for you. He / she can use the command below:

group=docker # another option is `www-data` group, for a web server
cd /home
sudo useradd -g $group $username -d /home/$username -m -s /bin/bash
sudo passwd $username
sudo cp .bash_profile .bash_prompt /home/$username
sudo echo 'export LC_ALL="en_US.UTF-8"' >> /home/$username/.bashrc
sudo chown $username.$group -R /home/$username

You’ll be prompt to enter password. This will add user hxl to docker group.

Notice the line cp .bash_profile .bash_prompt /home/$username – I put a couple of template configuration files under /home folder to copy to a new account. This will make the terminal prompt look better.

Connect to a cloud VM through command shell for Windows 10

Windows 10 users can install the WSL program to have a Linux subsystem on their Windows computer. Then can connect following the same steps as above for Linux users.

Connect to a cloud VM through JupyterLab

This is a more generic tutorial. Please focus on the first section of this document if you are only interested in connecting to Columbia Neurology HPC via JupyterLab.

Install JupyterLab on host

If you are a JupyterLab user you probably already have JupyterLab running on the host, or at least knows how to install it. If not, this page contains the commands to set it up.

Start JupyterLab server on host

First you need to connect to the host via SSH. Please open a new terminal to connect. Details see section above.

Once you are connected to host, type this line:

jupyter-lab --no-browser &

You should see lots of output. Of relevance is some lines like this:

[C 12:40:51.496 LabApp] 
    Copy/paste this URL into your browser when you connect for the first time,
    to login with a token:

Once you see it you know the JupyterLab server is up and running (on the background on the remote host). There are two important piece of information you need to keep:

  1. The port number the JupyterLab server is to be accessed: 8888
  2. The token (password): 1a90c5465f3295c8354a6e2365b961e88affb880559f51cb

The port number and token can be different every time you connect.

At this point you can hit enter key to bring yourself back to the terminal, then type exit to quit the host. It is very important to quit properly!

Connect to host JupyterLab from guest

On your guest machine, type:

ssh -NL 1828:localhost:8888 username@


  1. 8888 is the port number you see in the previous step on the host. Replace it with what you actually see.
  2. username is your username on the host, replace it with your username
  3. is my host IP address, see previous section on SSH connections. Replace it with the actual IP of your host computer.
  4. 1828 is a port number you assign on your guest machine to map to host JupyterLab server port. It can be a random number like this, or like 2888, 3888, 6666 as long is they are not being used by other apps on your computer. Just type in any 4-digits number. The command will complain and fail if the port you choose is not available.

Hit enter, you might be asked to enter password. After that, nothing will show up. Do not worry it is a good sign! Now in your web browser type http://localhost:1828 you should be directed to the page where you get asked the token and you input that using the token generated above.

For Google Cloud users

Here is a Youtube video tutorial on how to connect to Google Cloud VM through JupyterLab.

Use command terminal from within JupyterLab

The “Launcher” page of JupyterLab has a few types of items to launch:

  • Notebook
  • Console
  • Terminal

We typically launch a Notebook, but the other two are also very useful. For example to get yourself a conventional command terminal you just click on Terminal then you’ll be brought to the command terminal. You can also try to create a Bash Console. It is like something in between terminal and notebook. Sometimes you might find it more user-friendly.