HPC Cluster Getting Started
Who Is Eligible for Access to the ELSA HPC Cluster
Use of the ELSA HPC cluster is limited to School of Science faculty and invited faculty from other TCNJ schools; TCNJ students who are required to use the cluster for coursework or mentored research; and collaborators from other institutions who have been sponsored by a TCNJ faculty for access. Those that do not meet the stated criteria may request access by emailing their proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org. TCNJ reserves the right to limit cluster resources (e.g. simultaneous active jobs, CPU core count, GPU usage, storage space, etc.) in order to maintain continued operations.
Your existing TCNJ login and password are used to access the ELSA HPC cluster and activate your cluster account.
How Do I "Activate" My TCNJ Account on the Cluster
Activating your account creates some critical files that are needed before you can use the cluster. This only need to be done once. It estabishes your HPC home directory which is a space for you to store your personal files, programs and their configurations. It also creates SSH keys which are used by to encrypt network traffic between computers.
- To begin, point your web browser to https://elsa.hpc.tcnj.edu:4200/. This step needs to be done from an on-campus computer (wired or wireless) or from an off-campus computer utilizing the TCNJ VPN.
- At the elsa login: prompt, enter your TCNJ username (in all lowercase)
- At the password: prompt, enter your TCNJ password (the same one you use to access email, Canvas, etc.)
- Once successful, you should see messages similar to the following (this assumes you haven't set up your account previously).
Creating directory '/home/hpc/your_username'.
Creating ECDSA key for ssh
- At the $ prompt, type
exitand close the browser window/tab.
You are now ready to access your cluster account using Open OnDemand or an SSH shell.
Accessing the Cluster via Open OnDemand
Once you have activated your account, you can use the web portal to access common functions on the cluster. This web portal is called Open OnDemand and can be accessed at https://ondemand.hpc.tcnj.edu/ from an on-campus (wired or wireless) computer or from off-campus using the TCNJ VPN. Use your existing TCNJ login and password when prompted. To logout of Open OnDemand, you must fully quit your browser.
Accessing the Cluster via SSH
Sometimes you need to directly access the Linux command-line on the HPC cluster to manage files or submit jobs. In order to do so, use one of the methods below depending on your local operating system.
Open OnDemand offers a web-based SSH client that works computers running Windows and Mac operating systems. Firefox or Chrome are the recommended web browsers to use.
To access a Linux terminal using Open OnDemand, follow these steps:
- Login to Open OnDemand at https://ondemand.hpc.tcnj.edu/ using your TCNJ username (in all lowercase) and TCNJ password
- Choose Clusters from the menu
- Select >_ELSA HPC Cluster Shell Access for regular access or >_ELSA HPC Developer Shell Access if you need to do software development or compile code
This will open a new tab or window and drop you at the Linux command-line in your cluster home directory. When done using the terminal, type
exit before closing the terminal tab/window.
MacOS (aka Mac OS X) already has a built-in SSH capable terminal program. It can be accessed by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal or by clicking the search icon and typing terminal. If you will be a frequent user of the Terminal application, it is suggested that you add it (i.e. drag it) to your application dock for easy access in the future.
Windows, unfortunately, doesn't seem to include an SSH terminal program with the base operating system. You will need to download one from the Internet. The two applications below are the most popular.
- MobaXterm (recommended) - Download site (use Home Edition) | Installation video
- PuTTY - Download site | Installation video
Launch MobaXterm or PuTTY and connect to the cluster. Use
elsa.hpc.tcnj.edu when prompted for a hostname, and use your TCNJ username and password when prompted for credentials. The video below shows you how to use MobaXterm to connect to the HPC cluster.