Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Remote Access Windows Computing (Terminal Servers)

CSDE maintains Microsoft Windows Servers for general use computing through remote access. These permit anyone with a CSDE Windows Network account to sign into our file servers, access datasets, and run statistical software from anywhere in the world on a familiar Windows desktop environment.

If you don’t yet have a CSDE Computing Account, please request a CSDE account.

See here for a complete tutorial on accessing the CSDE Windows terminal servers.

There are currently three general-purpose CSDE Windows terminal servers available:


These servers carry a full complement of ready-to-use statistical and social-sciences software packages. The three terminal servers have nearly identical software packages installed and provide access to all your personal and project files. Each has 2x  4 core 2.7GHz Xeon CPU (16 cores with hyper-threading enabled) and 128GB memory.

There are five drives available for use on CSDE terminal servers. Once logged onto a terminal server, they can be found in the My Computer menu.

Windows Drive Letter Use for Backed Up Private Shareable with others
H: The H: drive is your home directory, where personal files can be saved. It can only be accessed by you and is backed up regularly.
O: The O: drive is for CSDE administrative documents and is only available to CSDE personnel.
R: The R: drive is for storage of project and data sets. Multiple users working on the same project can have read/write access to files/folders.
T: The T: drive is used for temporary storage and file sharing. T: is not backed up, so save copies elsewhere.
U: The U: drive is used for personal file storage. It can only be accessed by you and is backed up regularly. It can be self-service restored following these UW-IT directions.

Be careful not to permanently store data on the desktop, in the C: drive, or in the Downloads folder. These locations are regularly cleared of files to free up space, so any files lost may be impossible to recover.

Normally, one has to be on campus to view the electronic resources offered by UW Libraries. However, CSDE allows remote access through CSDE’s “Windows Terminal Server,” which all CSDE Affiliates are invited to use. Once you are logged into the server, it allows you to search the UW Libraries systems and use their resources as if you were on campus.

To find a journal article in the UW database, follow the steps below.

  1. Sign into the terminal server using your CSDE account
  2. Open a web browser and go to
  3. Enter the journal title into the search box at “UW WorldCat: Search UW Libraries and beyond” on the library homepage
  4. Journal availability information will be displayed. Use whichever database you would like. You can then search the database for your articles by title/author/keyword/issue/etc.

Simulation Cluster

CSDE’s Simulation Cluster is a group of 10 Windows terminal servers featuring simulation-specific software intended for computationally intensive work. The Sim Cluster, made possible by funding from the UW Student Technology Fee Committee, is available for use by students and faculty from all CSDE-affiliated departments.

To start using the the Simulation Clusters, you must first submit a request to gain access.

The Sim Cluster is rebooted on the last Friday of each month and is therefore offline from 3:00 AM to 10:00 AM PST while we apply updates. Please plan your work accordingly.

  1. Connect to any of the Sim Cluster nodes (e.g., using Remote Desktop Connection.
  2. Log in with your NetID username and password.

To start a new session for an additional simulation job, simply open another Remote Desktop Connection window to a different sim node (e.g.,

sim-mycomputerTo resume a job that’s currently running, reconnect to it by logging back in directly to its node. (The My Computer icon on your session’s desktop will indicate which cluster node you’re using; see the image to the right.) For example, if you disconnect from SIM3, your session would continue running there. To reenter and check the status of jobs, you need to use Remote Desktop Connection to connect back to the Sim node with your job.

  • List of programs available on CSDE Sim cluster
  • Each cluster node is a Dell PowerEdge M620 Blade server with 16 2.00GHz Intel Xeon CPUs and 192GB of RAM. They run Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit) Enterprise Edition.
  • Information on the H: and R: drives is backed up to tape, but like the Terminal servers, files on the Desktop and C: drive of the Sim Cluster are not backed up. The Desktop and C: drive are wiped whenever the sim nodes are re-imaged, so make sure you store important data elsewhere. Though we will do our best to minimize disruptions, CSDE is not responsible for data lost due to maintenance reboots or unexpected crashes.
  • You are expected to compose a brief note and endorsement for future funding proposals.
  • Do not overload the cluster with too many computationally intensive jobs—it prevents others from using the resource.
  • If running multiple jobs, start them on several nodes rather than on a single one. Please do not run jobs on more than three sim nodes.
  • Report any problems with the sim nodes or software to

Recent information on Sim Cluster memory and CPU usage is available below.

Total memory of each sim node is 192GB. When memory usage exceeds 90% (185GB or more), the sim node will respond very slowly – please size your jobs to avoid this scenario.

Missing data usually means the sim node is not responsive to the monitor program, which indicates a lack of system resources.

CSDE on GitHub

CSDE has an account on GitHub, an easy-to-use, web-based, software-development tool for software and documentation version control and sharing. CSDE Affiliates have used this public code repository for sharing code and data for classes, workshops, and collaborative efforts with the public and other universities.  Find out more about what GitHub is.    You may request access to the CSDE GitHub repository by emailing and including the email address you registered with Github (if you already have an account there).
Take me to the CSDE GitHub page

Unix Systems

Unix systems are characterized by various concepts: the use of plain text for storing data, a hierarchical file system, treatment of devices and certain types of inter-process communication (IPC) as files, and the use of a large number of small programs that can be strung together through a command line interpreter using pipes (as opposed to using a single monolithic program that includes all of the same functionality).

Getting an Account

You must have a CSDE Unix account to use the CSDE Linux systems. The following people qualify for Unix accounts at CSDE:

  • Current faculty affiliates
  • UW graduate students working with a CSDE faculty affiliate
  • Off-campus population scientists sponsored by a CSDE faculty affiliate

The parties above may request an account by completing this form.

Getting a UWNetID

If you’re an offsite or new UW member without a UWNETID, or wish to sponsor a UWNetID for a visiting researcher, click here

If you already have a UWNETID, manage your UW services at the UWNetID management pages here.

All CSDE Unix systems allow incoming connections exclusively via Secure Shell (SSH) v2.

From Windows

  • Several free Secure Shell 2 clients are available for windows: PuTTY and mRemoteNG

From Unix

  • This is accomplished via the command line Secure Shell (SSH) client.
  • Syntax: ssh <user@hostname>
    • Example: “ssh”
CSDE Unix Hosts

The following systems are available to all CSDE Unix Account holders

Host: Model Name: cpu MHz: CPU Cores: MemTotal: SwapTotal: Sun Fire x4170 M2 2.53 Ghz 2 72 Gig 10 Gig Sun Fire x4170 M2 2.53 Ghz 2 72 Gig 10 Gig

More information and instructions can be found for Unix programs, such as X2Go and NoMachine, on our “Connecting to Unix Terminal Servers” section of our tutorials page.

CSDE offers Sun Solaris and Debian Linux servers with software specialized for demographic research and statistics. The machines are available to all CSDE Unix account holders and can be accessed using ssh or X11.

General-Access Unix Systems

Everyone with a CSDE Unix account may access and Both have the following system specifications:

  • 64-bit, x86-64, 3.x kernel
  • Debian 8 (jessie)
  • X2Go/NoMachine capable
  • Model: Dell PowerEdge R630
  • CPU: 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2630L v3 @ 1.80GHz
  • Total CPU Cores: 32 with Hyperthreading
  • Memory Total: 193 GB
  • Swap Total: 20 GB

The following software is available on the General-Accesss (GA) CSDE Linux Servers:

High-performance computing is handled by the CSDE pool in Hyak, the UW-Wide High Performance Computing cluster. All Hyak access is authenticated by UW NetID and requires a physical PRN generator/eToken/keyfob. If you are a UW student, you can also join the UW HPC club and access the larger STF Hyak pool. (You can still connect from the CSDE Unix systems to Hyak if you use this allocation pool.)

To use the CSDE Hyak nodes, all of the following must be done:

  • CSDE Computing admins must add your UW NetID to the group “u_hyak_csde” to enable access. Request Hyak access from
  • You need an Entrust eToken/keyfob issued by UW IT. Email with “Hyak: eToken Request” as the subject, and include the mailing address to which they should send your eToken. More information is available here.
  • You must add the Hyak server and the Lolo server (storage system) to your UW NetID self-services pages. To do this, click here, click “Computing Services,” check the the “Hyak Server” and “Lolo Server” boxes in the “Inactive Services” section, click “Subscribe >” at the bottom of the page, and click “Finish.” After subscribing, it may take up to an hour to be fully provisioned.

Connecting to Hyak

You’ll need to SSH into Hyak using your UW NetID username and password. It will ask you for your eToken number as well (i.e., “enter PRN”). Use ssh, substituting your user name in place of “UWNetID.” The collaboration file system can be mounted at \\\collaboration\hyak\csde. This should work from the CSDE Terminal servers or other campus systems using UW NetID logins. Please create a subdirectory there named with your UW NetID if you want to use it to move files in/out of Hyak. Once you are on the Hyak system, the share above is located at ls /lolo/collaboration/hyak/csde/.

Please subscribe to this list for Hyak status updates.

The basic gist of the Hyak cluster is this: you will SSH into the head node of the Hyak system, where you can do minor work or ask the system for an “interactive node” you can ssh directly to and pound away. The “real” way is to make a batch submit script and submit it to the scheduler. Once you set up your SSH key relationship, you won’t need to use your eToken often, but keep it around. In a standard Hyak node on the batch system, all software is a “module,” so you’ll have to load the “R” or “Microsoft R open” (Formerly RevolutionR) module. Take a look at “Software Development Tools” here.

Additional information is available below:

Getting files in and out of Hyak using a windows share

  • Mount Lolo Collaboration via CIFS from your workstation or Terminal Server. The mountpoint is \\\collaboration\hyak\csde.
  • Drag and drop files into Lolo.
  • In a shell on a Hyak login node, run cp /lolo/collaboration/hyak/csde/foo /gscratch/mydir.
    • NOTE: In order to Access Lolo, you must enable the service in your self-service UW NetID page. Once this is done, you should have password access to the share as long as you are logged in to the CSDE terminal servers with your UW NetID.

Backfill Queue

Have a lot of jobs you’d like to run? Using the backfill queue offers the working potential of thousands of CPU cores.

NOTE: Each job in the backfill queue can only run for 2 hours before being shut down, so divide your jobs up accordingly!

If you’re running batches of serial jobs, read the following first:

If you’re running parallel jobs, read the following first:

More information is available here:

 Student High-Performance Computing Club

If you are a currently enrolled UW student paying the Student Technology Fee, you should join the UW HPC Club. This will allow you to submit jobs to be run in the student node allocation as well as the CSDE node allocation. You can then run your job on any of 3 queues:

  • STF queue: qsub -W group_list=hyak-stf
  • CSDE queue: qsub -W group_list=hyak-stf
  • Backfill queue: qsub -W group_list=bf

Hyak Node Retirement

Blades are deployed for three years. Blade deployments may only be extended if there is no demand for the slots they occupy. Because Hyak currently has lots of unoccupied slots, this has meant that nodes have continued to run beyond their 3-year minimum lifespan. As long as the nodes continue to operate, they have remained in the original owner’s queues.

Click here for Hyak utilization data and here for the inventory.

Citation in Publications

Please remember to acknowledge Hyak in any media featuring results that Hyak helped generate. When citing Hyak, please use the following language:

“This work was facilitated through the use of advanced computational, storage, and networking infrastructure provided by the Hyak supercomputer system at the University of Washington.”

When you cite Hyak, please let us know by emailing with “Hyak” as the first word in the subject along with a citation we can use in the body of the message. Likewise, please let us know of successful funding proposals and research collaborations to which Hyak contributed.

Hyak is a CSDE resource, so remember to cite CSDE as well! Click here for more information on acknowledging support from CSDE.

Additional Hosting

CSDE also hosts grant-funded project servers, websites, and databases on its secure server. We host Windows Terminal Servers equipped for managing sensitive data and file-backup services. Affiliates can access these services with a yearly fee or ongoing grant funding support. Contact Matt Weatherford for further details.