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Open OnDemand

Open OnDemand (OOD) is platform for accessing the clusters that only requires a web browser. This web-portal provides a shell, file browser, and graphical interface for certain apps (like Jupyter or MATLAB).


If you access Open OnDemand installed on YCRC clusters from off campus, you will need to first connect to Yale's VPN.

Open OnDemand is available on the following clusters using your NetID credentials (CAS login).

Cluster OOD site

The above four URLs are also called cluster OOD URLs. They are available to any user with a research account (also called a lab account) on the clusters. Your research account is the same as your NetID.

Course Open OnDemand Web Portals

For courses on Grace and Farnam, we offer course-specific OOD URLs that allow the students to sign in with their NetID but work under their student account. The course URLs all follow the same naming convention: More information about course OODs can be found at academic support.


If you only have a student account, but try to sign in through the cluster OOD URL, you will get an error in the browser:

Error -- can't find user for cpsc424_test
Run 'nginx_stage --help' to see a full list of available command line options.
Instead, use the course OOD URL.

The Dashboard

On login you will then be greeted with a welcome page showing the standard message of the day.


Along the top are a pull-down menus for a File Browser, a Job Builder, a list of Interactive Apps, and a Shell.

File Browser


The file browser is a graphical interface to manage, upload, and download files from the clusters. You can use the built-in file editor to view and edit files from your browser without having to download and upload scripts, etc.

You can also drag and drop files, download entire directories, and move files between directories using this interface.


You can launch a traditional command-line interface to the cluster using the Shell pull-down menu. This opens a terminal in a web-browser that you can use in the exact same way as when logging into the cluster via SSH.

This is a convenient way to access the clusters when you don't have access to an ssh client or do not have your ssh keys.

Interactive Apps

We have deployed a selection of common graphical programs as Interactive Apps on Open OneDemand. Currently, we have apps for Remote Desktop, MATLAB, Mathematica, RStudio Desktop, and Jupyter Notebook.

Remote Desktop

Occasionally, it is helpful to use a graphical interface to explore data or run certain programs. In the past your options were to use VNC or X11 forwarding. These tools can be complex to setup or suffer from reduced performance. The Remote Desktop app from OOD simplifies the configuration of a VNC desktop session on a compute node. The MATLAB, Mathematica, and RStudio Desktop Apps are special versions of this app. To get started choose Remote Desktop (or another desktop app) from the Interactive Apps menu on the dashboard.

Use the form to request resources and decide what partition your job should run on (use interactive or your lab's partition).


Once you launch the job, you will be presented with a notification that your job has been queued. Depending on the resources requested, you may need to wait for a bit. When the job starts you will see the option to launch the Remote Desktop:


Note you can share a view only link for your session if you would like to share your screen. After you click on Launch Remote Desktop, a standard desktop interface will open in a new tab. You can find the terminal application (for loading modules and launching programs) in the "Applications" > "System Tools" menu.



In some browsers, you may have to use a special text box to copy and paste from the Remote Desktop App. Click the arrow on the left side of your window for a menu, then click the clipboard icon to get access to your Remote Desktop's clipboard.


Jupyter Notebooks

One of the most common uses of Open OnDemand is the Jupyter Notebook interface for Python and R. Jupyter Notebooks provide a flexible way to interactively work with code and plots presented in-line together. To get started choose Jupyter Notebook from the Interactive Apps menu on the dashboard.


Make sure that you chose the right Conda environment for your from the drop-down menu. If you have not yet set one up, follow our instructions on how to create a new one. After specifying the required resources (number of CPUs/GPUs, amount of RAM, etc.), you can submit the job. When it launches you can open the standard Jupyter interface where you can start working with notebooks.


If you have installed and want to use Jupyter Lab replace /tree? with /lab in the url to your Jupyter job.

Last update: July 16, 2021