Connecting to RCS HPC Systems

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Research computing services operates and maintains various clusters and services which can only be connected to from within the University of Calgary campus network or via the University of Calgary IT General VPN.

Service Overview

RCS operates the following clusters and services. Most services can only be accessed from the campus network or through the IT General VPN.

Cluster Service Accessible by Protocol Hostname VPN/Campus Citrix
ARC Login Node All ARC users SSH Required Not required
JupyterHub HTTPS Required Not required
Open OnDemand HTTPS Not required Not required
Data Transfer Node SSH Required Not required
TALC Login Node All TALC users SSH Required Not required
JupyterHub HTTPS Required Not required
MARC Login Node All MARC users SSH N/A Required

Connecting to the University IT General VPN

Connections to certain services must be accessed from the University of Calgary campus network or via the University of Calgary IT General VPN. You may only connect to one of our login nodes via SSH or the Citrix service from either the campus network or after you have connected to the IT General VPN.

Connecting using FortiClient VPN

You may install the FortiClient VPN program to connect your computer to the IT General VPN.

Refer to the following pages based on your operating system:

Operating System Documentation

Once you are connected to the VPN, you may access any web services with your web browser or connect to login nodes via SSH using a SSH client of your choice.

If you have difficulties connecting the FortiClient VPN to University's network, first please make sure that you have the latest version of the client.

You can download and install it from the University software distribution centre:

For further assistance with connecting to the IT General VPN, please contact the University IT team through UService.

Connecting using Fortinet Web Portal

The Fortinet web portal allows VPN access through your web browser. This option is available for users that prefer not to use the FortiClient program or cannot install the FortiClient VPN program.

IT General VPN To log-in, click on 'Single Sign-On'.

Once connected, you may use the 'Quick Connection' option to connect to a website or SSH to a login node.

Connecting to a web site

  • Click 'Quick Connection'
  • Click HTTP/HTTPS
  • Enter the URL that you want to go to i.e. or
  • The website will open in a new browser tab and you may proceed normally.

Connecting via SSH

  • Click 'Quick Connection'
  • Click SSH
  • Fill out the "Host" box with username@hostname. For example,
  • A new browser tab will open with a prompt for your SSH username and password. If connecting to a login node, enter your UC credentials.
  • The SSH terminal will open in a new tab and you can proceed typing commands into the terminal normally.

Connecting with Citrix

Citrix Workspace app is only required for users connecting to the secured compute cluster MARC.

Obtain the Citrix Workspace App and then navigate to You may access the Citrix Workspace without first connecting to the IT General VPN.

Connecting with Open OnDemand

Open OnDemand is accessible both on and off campus without a VPN connection. You may access nodes via SSH using a browser-based SSH client and web services through a virtual desktop.

Connecting with SSH

Secure Shell (SSH) is an encrypted network protocol that allows secure communication between your computer and a server.

On Linux or MacOS computers, SSH is most likely installed and can be used by opening a terminal and running:


For work requiring X11 forwarding, pass in the -X flag.

ssh -X

On Windows, there are various clients that can be used to connect to our cluster including:

  • PuTTY
  • MobaXterm

Connecting with MobaXTerm

MobaXTerm is an implementation of an SSH client and more.

Get the Home Edition Installer and run it on your Windows machine to install.

To connect to a remote computer, you have to know four things:

  • The name of the remote computer.
  • The protocol that is used to connect.
  • Your user name (account) on that computer.
  • Your password for that account on that computer.

The name depends on the computer you want to use. For the ARC cluster uses the login node named Thus, this would be the name of the remote host field in the dialog.

Remote host simply means "the name of the remote computer you want to connect to".

Your user name on that computer corresponds to your account name on it. In the case of ARC it is your UofC IT name, the part of your UofC email address before the @ character. For example, your email is, then the account name is

The protocol you use to connect is the SSH, you select it by choosing the SSH connection tab in the dialog. The protocol affects the connection port on the remote system. It is the case of SSH it is set to 22 by default, which is correct for ARC.

The password you have to know and enter when prompted. It is the same password that you use to access your UofC email. If you ever change the UofC email password, it will automatically change for ARC as well.

Connecting from Compute Canada systems

Compute Canada clusters are allowed to connect to ARC ( and ARC-DTN ( directly, without VPN client, using an SSH client. The main purposes is to simplify data transfer between ARC and Compute Canada systems with either scp or rsync. Hence, if you are having difficulties connecting to ARC using FortiClient VPN and you have a Compute Canada account, you can connect to either Cedar, Graham, or Beluga clusters and ssh to ARC from there.

External Collaborators

The main requirement for a researcher to have an account on ARC, or any other compute cluster at UofC is that the researcher must have a UofC IT account and have a corresponding UofC e-mail address. This is because access to the clusters is controlled by the central authentication system as to the rest of the electronic services on campus. Thus, external collaborators cannot get an account on ARC unless they have a UofC IT account.

To address this issue and to facilitate a collaborative environment there is a hiring template for External Research Collaborators who need to remotely access the secure compute and High Performance Compute (HPC) resources at the University of Calgary.

This new designation allows you to request General Associate (GA) access for external research collaborators, that are not University of Calgary employees or associated with AHS, to our HPC and Secure Compute services in an expedited manner. Researchers in this category require a Principal Investigator (PI) or a PI delegate to submit a Template Based Hire (TBH) with the new GA template. Please note that AHS external researchers have their own GA template available for them and they don’t need to use this new GA template.

Principal Investigators or their delegates can request the creation of a new General Associate External Collaborator following the Template Base Hire form process in PeopleSoft and selecting the template “UC_CWR_EXT_RES_CL – Gen Associate – External Research Collaborator”. These requests will need to be approved by Research Computing Services, who is managing HPC. Once the transaction is approved, it will go to HR to complete the hiring process and the new account will be ready for your associate.

Actions Required

  • For new External Research Collaborators, please follow the Template Base Hire described above.
  • If you currently have External Collaborators under a different template but fits into the new category, please let us know their names and email addresses and we will transfer them to the proper template.