BNL HET, NT, & RBRC Theory: Overview of machines, accounts, etc.

Overview of computing in BNL HET, NT, & RBRC Theory

In the following, items given within quotes, such as "cd /home", etc, are meant to represent literal commands which you type. You do not type the quote marks.

The following is information solely about machines and other details of how to get a machine and log on and off. For information about software available on these machines, please look here

Available computers

Visitors to HET, NT, & RIKEN/BNL Research Center Theory can make use of our workstations, as well as other Unix computers. The BNL Computing Center no longer supports VMS. If you have a Sun Sparc-1 or X-terminal, you should do ALL work remotely. This really means all: run any xterm, netscape, emacs, etc. off of one of the machines below. If you are here for sometime, it will also help to avoid bloated window managers such as Common Desktop Environment and Open Windows, and adopt something such as the Feeble Window Manager, fvwm.

Besides the computers and terminals in our offices, there are several X-terminals Room 2-84 at the back of the Physics Building. To use them, press Alt-Setup if necessary, and then under ``hostname'' type one of the hostnames listed above (, etc.).

Our main computer and file server is located in the CCD Data Center:

This machine also goes by the name (thigh fi). Other available computers listed in decreasing order of speed include:

The HET & NT workstations all use a common NIS (Yellow Pages) password file and NFS-mounted file system, so you can use any machine interchangably.

quark and muon are ok; you might also want to try the compute server in the physics department. Unfortunately, at present these systems have seperate file systems and password files. For interactive work, use:

There are also several machines for batch jobs, including: The Computing and Communications Division, CCD, has a "High Throughput Computing Cluster", including: sun2, the Solaris Intel cluster, and the Linux Intel cluster all have much more power than our local machines. If you have serious computing, you should be on one of these machines, not our putzy local boxes.

The CCD Unix machines share a common file system, but a different one than our computers. You can use |ftp| or |rcp| to transfer files between our computers and the CCD ones. You have to use ssh and scp for the Linux cluster.

Mathematica is on, but it is also on and; it is faster on the remote machines by at least a factor of 2-3.

Adobe Illustrator is on, but it is better to use

CCD no longer has any VMS machines.

Visitor accounts

Unless you will visit for more than a month or have special needs, we ask that you use our visitor account with the username "theory"; it is available on all the computers listed above. Please create a subdirectory using your name to hold all your files the first time you login. On Unix systems type "mkdir yourname", then "cd yourname". Any files placed in the "theory" home directory will be deleted without warning.

Please remember that the "theory" account is a shared account. Hence, do not modify any of the initialization files for it. Instead of modifying ".cshrc" on Unix or "" on VMS, create a similar file in your subdirectory and execute it each time you login. If you have mail sent to this account, ask your correspondents to put your name in the subject line. Be careful not to delete mail for other visitors. Finally, please remember that your use of this account is temporary. Files will be deleted thirty days after you leave BNL.


All of the Theory Group computers have all the standard Unix tools, "cc", "f77", X-windows Release 5, "tex", "texsis", "latex", "netscape", "Mosaic", Cernlib, and many of the GNU utilities. If you login at the console of one of the Suns, you will be given a choice of Openlook with "olwm" or standard X11R5 with "twm"; we do not have "mwm". On the RS/6000's only one window manager is available.

On the Theory Group workstations, the commands "netscape" or "Mosaic" will start on the BNL High Energy and Nuclear Theory home page, "". This offers links to Spires, the preprint server at Los Alamos, etc., and a current list of seminars. If you are working just from a terminal, use the command "lynx".

For further information on the Theory Group workstations and available applications, start "netscape", "Mosaic" or "lynx". From our home page go to "People, tips, \& papers" and then to "Tips." This is a detailed and up to date explanation of TeX, printing, plotting, Mathematica, and the like. Please read this information carefully before asking for help.

If you want to connect to a VMS system from one of our workstations, you will probably want to emulate a VT100 terminal and keypad. The following commands are available for this:

The IP-address may be given in literal or dotted decimal notation. "tnibm" also works for the Tektronix X-terminals; the NCD X-terminal provides built-in VT100 emulation. All three commands open an "xterm", run "telnet" in it, and remap the numeric keypad and the Backspace key appropriately. For the IBM and Sparc versions, the VT100 keys PF1--PF4 are mapped onto F1--F4. Since the old Sun keyboard lacks separate cursor keys, "tnsun" maps the cursor keys onto the keys L7--L10 and F7--F10: Only F7--F10 work properly with Openwindows.

Networks and e-mail

All BNL computers have Internet names of the form "" with numerical addresses "130.199.nnn.mmm". (We no longer have any machines running VMS and hence have no connection to Decnet.)

All the Unix machines support the "mail" command to send mail to any Internet address. Use "mail" to read mail and "mail name@node.subdomain.domain" to send it. Type "man mail" for help. On most systems "Mail", "elm", "pine", or a GUI mail tool may provide a more convenient interface than "mail".


All the Theory Group workstations use the HP Laserjet 4M+ in the coffee room as their default printer. To print an ordinary or Postscript file on this printer, type "lp filename". To print a "name.dvi" file, type "dvips name". To see the entries in the print queue, type "lpstat -o".

This printer should be adequate for general use. Faster printers are available and are described here. If you have specialized needs, e.g., for a color printer, consult one of us.

If all else fails, you might try this:

MS Windows Software

CCD has a machine which runs Microsoft Windows NT and runs a gamut of standard PC applications, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD, WordPerfect, Visio Professional, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visual C++, Intel RSX, etc.

If you are on a workstation, from a console window first type "xhost +". Then type "setenv DISPLAY machine_name:0.0" where machine name is your computer or X-terminal, such as ? Lastly, type "wincenter &". From an X-terminal you only need type "wincenter &".

After a long delay, an NT login screen will appear; enter the usual theory password. To get to the usual directory on quark, go to the "Z:\" directory.

Wincenter is proprietary software, and we have a limited number of licenses. Please logoff when you are finished using the "Logoff" command from the "File" menu. It takes some time for Wincenter to terminate.

DOS disks can be read and written on using the commands "dosread" and "doswrite".