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HEP Computing Documentation

FAQs about Remote Working

In case anyone needs to self-isolate or the University has to close we're keeping a page updated with advice about WorkingFromHome and accessing HEP and University services from off-campus.

Registering for a HEP Linux account

To access HEP computing resources you will need to register for a HEP Linux account. This must be submitted by your supervisor or line manager. See AccountRegistration for more details on registration and starting to use Linux.

Using HEP Linux Software

If you have access to a HEP Linux desktop you can use this directly. There are also high performance interactive nodes provided for intensive work and remote use. They all have high throughput network connections to local and off-site storage systems.
Node Name OS CPUs RAM GPU Centos7 40 128GB 3xGT740 2GB Centos7 8 16GB 1xGTX980Ti 6GB Centos7 8 16GB 1xGT740 2GB SL6 16 72GB 2xTesla M2070 6GB SL6 16 24GB NA
If you have large amounts of simulation or analysis to perform please use the batch systems. See BatchProcessing for more information

For advice on using the 64bit Centos7 software environments and known issues see the Centos7Desktops topic.

For advice on using the deprecated 64bit SL6 software environments and known issues see the SL6Desktops topic.

Remote Shell Access

You can connect to our systems from off-campus or personal laptops and desktops. This is done through an SSH client, which provides a secure connection to a command line. Linux and OS X systems should have an SSH client built in. Windows users should download an SSH client, eg putty. MobaXterm also provides graphical support and can be installed on Usage is simple
  • ssh username@hostname
  • eg ssh joebloggs@iota
When off-campus you will need to connect to our SSH gateway first with From there you can then connect to HEP systems as normal.

Graphical applications can also be run over SSH, you can tell SSH to enable this with
  • ssh -X -Y username@hostname
This is ok for most things on campus. Off campus it may be better to use VNC.

Remote Desktops with VNC

A desktop can be used remotely with VNC. There is more information about how to do this in the HepVNCGuide.


HEP email can be accessed via IMAPv4, webmail or from the command line with Alpine. See EmailGuide for more information.


Particle Physics produces a large quantity of data which, in turn, require large quantities of storage. There are a number of file stores in use and the nature of the data determines where it should be stored. For more information see the FilestoresGuide.

CERN EOS Storage

Bulk Data and user files stored on CERN EOS storage can be accessed directly from Liverpool HEP systems, without having to copy files first. For more information see the EosAccessGuide.

Grid Storage on DPM

Complementing the dedicated local filestores is the large capacity grid storage area (currently accessed using DPM). This is a shared resource for all grid users, with different levels of space reservation and experiment specific quotas. To learn more about storing and accessing files on DPM see the GridStorageGuide.

WISP Cloud Storage

The WISP Integrated Storage Portal is available for all HEP Linux account users and provides a web-based storage interface and synchronisation service. For more information on accessing and using it see the WispStorageGuide.

Version Control (Git, SVN)

The Linux desktops should have the usual range of version control utilities installed (git, svn, cvs). We run a local Git service at, just use your usual HEP login to access it. Basic instructions should be available when you log in. This is intended for local development, particularly projects that are private. Large scale public projects with other institutes may be better served by github.

Continuous Integration and Deployment is supported. Code can be built/tested in the standard HEP Centos 7 environment by specifying the hep-centos7 tag. Code can also be built on any platform supported by freely available docker containers eg Ubuntu, through the default Kubernetes runner.


The officially supported container technology on managed HEP systems is Singularity. This can be used to run both Singularity and Docker images, while also integrating seamlessly with local user accounts and storage systems. Docker is not directly supported due to a number of security concerns about running it on shared-user systems such as HEP Linux.

Pre-built containers can be used from files or Docker and Singularity registries. New containers can be created either on your own systems or on HEP Linux if you have the necessary permissions. For more information about using Singularity and accessing our local container library see the HEPContainerGuide.

Jupyter Notebook Support

We run a small cloud service providing support for Jupyter Notebooks. Anyone with a HEP Account can log in and run or create notebooks using Python, Julia or R. See the JupyterGuide for more information.

Mattermost Team-based Messaging

We provide a local Mattermost service for team-based messaging and collaboration. This is available directly via the web at or via dedicated clients on all main platforms. Mattermost clients should be preinstalled on SL6 and Centos7 desktops.

For more information on creating accounts and using Mattermost see our LiverpoolMatterMost topic.


Some user data is backed up on a daily basis in case of accidental deletion or corruption. For more information about which data is backed up and how to retrieve it see the BackupsGuide.


The HEP print system provides monochrome and colour printers for all users. See the PrintersGuide for more information.

Authentication and Passwords

HEP systems have two main authentication systems, one for Linux and one for Samba (for printing and filestore access from Windows). Your Linux password will be assigned when the account is created. You can change it at any time using passwd from any HEP linux system. This will change the password for your shell access and email access.

For Windows access see SambaGuide for more information.

As well as your HEP password you may have to have access to various experiment sites or systems with other accounts or logins. Keeping track of multiple passwords, or securely sharing passwords within a group can be tricky. We recommend using a password safe such as Keepass. We have clients installed by default on SL6 and Centos7 systems. See the PasswordSecurity topic for more information.


Adding a machine to the HEP network with MACAddressRegistration.

Guest wireless access can be provided for meetings and conferences in Room 337. Email with your requirements (including number of accounts and duration in days).

Batch and Interactive Processing

A number of queues are available for local analysis using dedicated HEP machines. See BatchProcessing for more information.

GPGPU (Tesla/Xeon Phi) Access and Usage, Machine Learning (Tensorflow)

Some standard Linux desktops have NVidia cards available for CUDA-accelerated processing, with a minimum of 2GB of RAM and 96 cores. CUDA libraries are pre-installed. CUDA development software is available in /user/software/cuda/ and should the default should already be configured.

We currently have 2 NVidia Tesla M2070 GPGPUs with 6GB RAM and 448 cores each, available on We also have a NVidia GTX 980Ti with 6GB RAM and 2816 cores available on

There is a batch queue, gpgpu, which will schedule jobs to systems with CUDA devices (both desktop and dedicated). Please only use this outside normal office hours as CUDA jobs can interfere with normal desktop usage. CUDA work on can take place at any time.

We provide TensorFlow for Centos7 systems. See HEPTensorFlow for more information.

Video Conferencing

Most day to day video conferencing needs can be easily met with a webcam and a suitable head set. If you are using desktop conferencing software (eg Vidyo or Skype) and need extra hardware see the admins in room 220.

Vidyo should be pre-installed on SL6 and Centos7 HEP Desktops. Skype is available only on Centos7 HEP Desktops, it is no longer compatible with SL6.

We have a dedicated video conferencing room with built in hardware for groups or high quality conferencing. See the VideoConferenceRoom guide for more details.


Some tips on using Chromebooks in HEP are availabe in the HepChromebook page.


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Computing Web Utilities

Topic revision: r36 - 13 Jul 2020, JohnBland
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