Connecting to CHTC
This guide assumes that you have already gotten a CHTC account for either our high throughput or high performance compute systems. If you haven't, see our getting started page.
Table of Contents
1. Accessing the Submit Servers
You will need the following information to log into our CHTC submit servers or head nodes:
Username and Password
- UW - Madison NetId and password
|2019, or between March 2021 - June 2022|
|February 2021 or after July 1, 2022|
|HPC Cluster - starting October 15, 2020|
Are you off-campus?
All of our CHTC submit servers and head nodes are firewalled to block log-ins from off-campus. If you are off-campus and want to log in, you can either:
- Activate the campus VPN (more details on how to set this up here).
- Log into another computer that is on campus.
In either case, it will appear like you are on-campus, and you should then be able to log into CHTC as usual.
2. Logging In
Using the information described above, you can log in to servers two different ways -- from the command line or using an SSH program:
A. On the command line (Mac/Linux)
On a Mac or Linux system, you can use the "Terminal" application to log in. Open a terminal window and use the following command to connect to the appropriate server:
$ ssh username@hostname
You will be prompted for your password.
B. Using an SSH program (Windows)
There are multiple programs to connect to remote servers for Windows. We
recommend "PuTTy", which can be downloaded
To log in, click on the PuTTy executable (
putty.exe). You should see a
screen like this:
Fill in the hostname as described in part 1. You should use Port 22 and connect using "ssh" -- these are usually the defaults. After you click "connect" you will be prompted to fill in your username and password.
Note that once you have submitted jobs to the queue, you can leave your
logged in session (by typing
exit). Your jobs will run and return
output without you needing to be connected.
3. Transferring Files
To transfer files to and from CHTC, you will need the same username and hostname information for logging in, as well as understanding where your files are and where you would like them to go.
A. On the command line (Mac/Linux)
On a Mac or Linux system, you can use the "Terminal" application and
scp command to copy files between your computer and CHTC servers.
Your computer to CHTC
First, open the "Terminal" application and navigate to the directory with the files or directories you want to transfer. Then, use this command to copy these files to CHTC:
$ scp file username@hostname:/home/username
If you would like these files to end up in a different directory inside your home directory, just add it to the path at the end of the command.
CHTC to your computer
Open the "Terminal" application. Do NOT log into CHTC. Instead, navigate to where you want the files to go on your computer. Then, use this command to copy these files there:
$ scp username@hostname:/home/username/file ./
Again, for many files, it will be easiest to create a compressed tarball (.tar.gz file) of your files and transfer that instead of each file individually.
B. Using a file transfer program (Windows/Mac)
Windows and Mac users can also use special programs to help them transfer files between their computers and CHTC. For Windows, we recommend WinSCP. It requires the same information as Putty (hostname, username), and once it's set up, looks like this:
The left window is a directory on your computer, the right window is your home directory in CHTC. To move files between the two, simply drag and drop.
There are other programs besides WinSCP that do this. Another that works on Mac and Windows is called Cyberduck.
C. Transferring Multiple Files
If you are transferring many files, it is advantageous to compress them into a single compressed file, in order to facilitate transferring them. Place all the files you need in a directory, and then either zip it or use the "tar" command to compress them:
$ tar czf data_files.tar.gz file_directory/
To untar or unzip files on the submit server or head nodes, you can use either:
[alice@submit]$ tar xzf data_files.tar.gz
[alice@submit]$ unzip data_files.zip
4. Creating and Editing Files in CHTC
Once you have logged in to a CHTC server, you can edit files from the command line, by using a command line file editor. Some common editing programs are:
nano is the most beginner-friendly, and
emacs is the most advanced.
This Software Carpentry
how to use
nano, and there are many other resources online with
instructions for these text editors.
Some of the file transfer programs mentioned above allow you to edit files on CHTC servers through the interface.
5. Learning About the Command Line
Why learn about the command line? If you haven't used the command line before, it might seem like a big challenge to get started, and easier to use other tools, especially if you have a Windows computer. However, we strongly recommend learning more about the command line for multiple reasons:
- You can do most of what you need to do in CHTC by learning a few basic commands.
- With a little practice, typing on the command line is significantly faster and much more powerful than using a point-and-click graphic interface.
- Command line skills are useful for more than just large-scale computing.
For a good overview of command line tools, see the Software Carpentry Unix Shell lesson. In particular, we recommend the sections on:
- understanding the filesystem and how to navigate it (Navigating Files and Directories)
- tab-completion (section entitled "Nelle's Pipeline, Organizing Files", in Navigating Files and Directories)
- creating files (Working With Files and Directories)
- using the star wildcard (first part of Pipes and Filters)
- writing shell scripts (Shell Scripts)