Getting Started

Why would I need the Research Computing systems?

In short, you might eventually need to perform computations that your laptop or dedicated research desktop just can't handle.  You might have so much data that it won't even fit in your personal computer's RAM (or hard drive). You might need to run calculations that would take your laptop years to complete, so you need parallel programming to get results.  You might need access to software that runs only the research computing systems.  Or maybe your research group simply wants its programs and data in a centralized place.  All of these are typical use cases.

In addition, faculty and students sometimes want a common computing environment for a course.  Our smaller systems -- Nobel and Adroit -- are typically used for this purpose.  Many of the live trainings and workshops offered by Research Computing (see below) require an account on Adroit.

What are the different systems, and which one is right for me?

Research computing has a variety of Linux-based systems (with names like Della, Tiger, Perseus, etc) with different capabilities and target use-cases.  They are described in detail here, along with some guidelines (and restrictions) on which system to choose.

If you are just getting started, more than likely you will want an account on Nobel or Adroit, which you can request through simple online forms.

How do I get an account?

Access to the larger systems requires sponsorship by a faculty member. If the sponsoring faculty member does not already have access to the system, you must submit a proposal.

For the smaller systems Nobel and Adroit, you can request through simple online forms.


How do I login to the system?

Step by step instructions can be found here.

Are there online tutorials on how to use the systems?

The research computing website has a step-by-step tutorial on how to connect to the system.  That same page contains links near the bottom on related topics like data transfer and data visualization.  Our FAQ also has useful information.

For users completely new to clusters or Linux in general, we have a new user's guide.

Check out our live help sessions.

Helpful tip: when typing a question into a search engine, you are more likely to find Princeton-hosted resources if you add the word 'Princeton' to your search string.


In addition to the above, Research Computing also has a collection of links to online information that could be helpful for more specific aspects of using our systems. Future additions to this list may touch on broader topics in research computing.

Is there live training on how to use the systems?

Yes!  Research computing offers numerous workshops during the academic year and over fall, winter, and spring breaks.  In addition to instruction on the basics of the command line and using our systems, we are also offering training in topics from version control to Python programming to data visualization.  Most of our trainings are posted on the research computing website, but more workshops tailored to the needs of the Princeton research community are constantly under development, so please keep an eye out for posters and other training announcements we make around campus.

Are there walk-in help sessions?

Indeed.  The information is further down on this web page.  Live help sessions run by Research Computing staff are held twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Lewis Library, year-round.  No appointment necessary.

What if I have technical difficulties once I'm using the system?

To submit a trouble ticket, just send email directly to

Help Sessions

Weekly Help Sessions

Tue, Jan 19, 2021, 10:30 am to 11:30 am

Weekly Help Sessions

Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm