Connecting to Spear

Spear systems allow you to run software interactively on remote systems. Some software may be command-line tools, and some may be GUIs.

To connect to Spear via SSH, you will need an RCC Account, and you will need to know how to use an SSH client.

You will also need to connect to the FSU VPN if you are off-campus.

Connecting via NoMachine and the Interactive Queuing System (IQS)

This is the recommended way to access the Spear system.

The Interactive Queuing System (IQS) provides a load-balanced mechanism for accessing Spear resources. This allows you to connect to Spear nodes with the most resources available. In addition, the OpenNX provides a fast and reliable mechanism for running graphical utilities remotely.

  1. Download and install the NoMachine client from:
  2. Access the Interactive Queuing System:
  3. Select your Cluster and a resource to access (Matlab, or VMD)**
  4. Click "Ok", and your browser will download an NX file
  5. Launch the downloaded file by double-clicking on it
  6. Enter your RCC username and password in the NoMachine NX dialog box.
  7. The selected application (Matlab or VMD) will open in a GUI window on your computer, but it is running from Spear.

** Most users will select the General Access Cluster

Connecting via SSH

If you wish to run only command line tools, simply connect via SSH to a Spear login node:


Connecting via SSH with X11

For those users wishing to access the general access Spear nodes, you can use SSH as an alternative to OpenNX. Be warned: using regular SSH with X11 forwarding is slower than using OpenNX.

In order to run graphical tools, such as MATLAB, and VMD, you will need to connect via SSH with X11 forwarding enabled. For Mac and Linux users, this means simply using the -X flag when connecting via SSH:


Once logged in with the -X flag, you can invoke graphical programs, such as MATLAB:

bash-4.1 $ matlab 

For Windows users, refer to our documentation for setting up Windows to use SSH and X11.

Connecting to GPU-enabled Spear nodes

If you want to connect to a Spear node that has a GPU, simply use the DNS name:


Use this instead of in order to ensure that you are connected to one of our Spear nodes that has a GPU.