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You're going to need access to some computers. If you already have access to cloud resources, then great - you're ready to go. There are some specific requirements depending on your platform type, which are discussed in the relevant chapters of this guide.

You'll need a client device - something to log into your research environment from. The requirements on client devices are fairly minimal, but you'll need: - A computer with a screen and a keyboard; you can probably access on a tablet or smartphone too, if your typing is good enough - A relatively modern web-browser; Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and pretty much anything else that was written/updated in the last couple of years should all be fine. - An SSH client; this comes built-in for Linux and Mac based machines, but you'll need to install one for Windows clients and some tablets. - Internet access; it seems dumb to list this as a requirement for running HPC on cloud resources, but a surprising number of sites actually limit outbound connectivity to the Internet. You'll need to be able to access the Internet from your client device. - Optionally: A graphical data transfer tool; you don't actually need one of these, but they can really help new users get started more quickly.

It's worth checking for centrally-managed client systems that you can install the software that you need - some research sites don't allow users to install new software. Here are some recommendations of software that you can use on client machines; this is far from a complete list, but should help you get started:

  • SSH client:
    • Use the built-in ssh client for Mac and Linux
    • For Windows, try Putty or SmaTTY
  • Web-browser:
    • Use the built-in Safari browser on Macs
    • For Linux and Windows, install Firefox or Chrome
  • VNC (Graphical desktop client):
    • Use the built-in VNC client on Macs
    • For Linux, install vncviewer package, or install RealVNC viewer
    • For Windows, install TurboVNC
  • Graphical file-transfer tools:

We've tried to make recommendations for open-source and/or free software client software here - as ever, please read and obey the licensing terms, and try to contribute to the supporting projects either financially, or by referencing them in your research publications.