Accounts and Access

To access the Shared Computing Cluster (SCC), you must have an SCC account as a result of being a member of a Research Computing project active on the SCC. This account is separate from a general Boston University (BU) computing account. Having a BU Kerberos username and password does not automatically give you access to the SCC.

Once you do have your SCC account, you can log in to the following machines (also see Research Computing Resources Overview and the Technical Summary) using your BU login name and Kerberos password. Users must use an ssh client to login to these machines. Instructions on connecting to the SCC for various operating systems are here.

  • Shared Computing Cluster (SCC) or
    E&E Department users can also use
    BUMC users should generally use Note: Off-campus log in requires either a VPN or logging in first through another login node, such as

Usage Policies

Your usage of the SCC must abide by the BU Ethics Policy and the BU Information Security Policy and Guides.

Researchers using the SCC must also abide by the guidelines of the Office of Reseach Compliance at Boston University.


When you first receive an SCC account, you should receive mail with instructions on how to access your account using your BU login ID and Kerberos password; external users only will be asked to set up a new BU login ID and Kerberos password. Some users also have a local SCC (non-Kerberos) Unix password which can be used to log in to the SCC. Only your BU Kerberos password can be used to access our password-restricted web materials.

If you forget your BU Kerberos password, you can change it here. Please read that full page carefully for instructions on the procedure.

If you ever forget (or wish to set for the first time) your local SCC (non-Kerberos) password, you can set or change it here if you know your Kerberos password. Otherwise, you should send email to You can also call Aaron Fuegi at (617) 353-8255.

With your Kerberos password, you can also change your shell.

Passwordless Access

Note that passwordless access using public/private key authentication is not allowed on the SCC. You must enter your Kerberos password to authenticate each time you log in to the SCC from an outside machine.

Using ssh to access the SCC

To access the SCC, users must use ssh. Instructions on what you need to do to access the system for all major operating systems are available here.

Using X Windows to Display Graphics

If you follow the above steps properly, you should also be able to display graphics on your machine, such as running MATLAB’s GUI. You can test this by running the command xclock on one of the SCC login nodes; this command should bring up a window with a simple analog clock. If you can see the clock, you should be all set for other applications as well. If you can’t, you will first need to run (and possibly install and/or configure first) an X Windows client on your workstation. Instructions on doing this for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux are available here.

Additional Considerations – VPN and VNC

Use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is generally not necessary for using the SCC although it may make things more convenient for those using as their login node (which allows access to data in the /restricted partitions). From off-campus, users who wish to access scc4 should either use a VPN or else first log in to either or and then from there log in to

VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a means to make graphical applications potentially run much faster and be much more responsive. It is only useful if you are using a graphical application such as MATLAB or RStudio. There is a bit of work to set it up so we recommend doing so only if you are feeling that your graphical application is responding sluggishly to your actions.