IMPORTANT: The operating system of the Nobel machines has been upgraded from Springdale Linux (SDL) 7 to SDL 8. If you encounter problems then please email [email protected]. See the section below on "Running Software using the Previous Operating System".

Nobel is a great entry point for computational researchers and students, as it functions like a personal (but shared) Linux laptop that you can access from anywhere. It is ideally suited for coursework you want to run somewhere other than your own laptop, teaching, or for accessing commercially licensed academic software, e.g. Mathematica, MATLAB, StataSE, among others. Nobel uses the OIT home filesystem for storage (a.k.a. the H: drive).

Some Technical Specifications
Nobel consists of a pair of large, multicore servers running Linux. This load balanced system is currently comprised of two Dell R610 servers named after Princeton Nobel Laureates, Compton and Davisson. For more technicals details, see the Hardware Configuration section below.


How to Access the Nobel System

All members of Princeton with a NetID have access to the Nobel system. If you joined the university for before July 2021 then you should first activate your Unix account (click on "Update your Unix Account"). Connect to Nobel by opening an SSH client and typing the following SSH command:

$ ssh <YourNetID>

The Nobel system is open to the world so there is no need to use a VPN. For more on how to SSH, see the Knowledge Base article Secure Shell (SSH): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you are new to Linux then look at Introduction to Unix at Princeton.

Changing Your Unix Shell

As of June 2021, the default shell for all OIT-managed Linux systems is /bin/bash. If you wish to change the default shell then see Unix: How do I enable/change the default Unix shell on my account?


How to Use the Nobel System

Since Nobel is a Linux system, knowing some basic Linux commands is highly recommended. For an introduction to navigating a Linux system, view the material associated with our Intro to Linux Command Line workshop. 

Using Nobel also requires some knowledge on how to properly use the file system and module system. For an introduction to navigating Princeton's High Performance Computing systems, view our Guide to Princeton's Research Computing Clusters.

To work with visualizations, or applications require graphical user interfaces (GUIs), see Option3 in our graphical guide.

Some additional information specific to Nobel can be found below.

To attend a live session of either workshop, see our Trainings page for the next available workshop.
For more resources, see our Support - How to Get Help page.


Important Guidelines

Please be mindful that Nobel is a shared resource for all users.

There is no batch scheduler running on the Nobel cluster, and users are urged to avoid launching processes that will overburden the system.


Hardware Configuration

For more technical details, click here to see the full version of the systems table. 

System Processor
Nodes Cores
per Node
per Node
Total Cores Inter-connect Theoretical
Nobel Dell Linux Server 2.6 GHz Ice Lake 2 64 1 TB 128 N/A 10.6 TFLOPS


Running Software using the Previous Operating System

The operating system on Nobel was upgraded from SDL 7 to SDL 8 in the summer of 2021. We provide a compatibility tool for effectively running software under the old operating system (SDL 7). This involves prepending the command you want to run with /usr/licensed/bin/run7. Below are a few examples:

$ /usr/licensed/bin/run7 cat /etc/os-release
$ /usr/licensed/bin/run7 bash
Singularity> source /home/aturing/
$ run7 bash
Singularity> source /usr/licensed/cadence/profile.20200824
Singularity> virtuoso


Filesystem Usage and Quotas

Nobel uses the central OIT home filesystem known as the H: drive, where all users have a 5GB quota.

Information about the H: drive and how to access it from Windows and Mac OS X systems can be found here in the Knowledge Base article Central File Server: Frequently Asked.

If a higher quota is needed, please see the Knowledge Base article Quotas and Increase Request-Exchange, voicemailbox & central file server storage. Submit the on-line form (link is external) to apply for additional quota.


Maintenance Window

Nobel will be down for maintenance in between semesters for a period of a few hours. No significant changes are made during the fall and spring semesters.


Getting Help

The filesystems of Nobel are supported by central OIT. This means that users should write to [email protected] for issues related to file quota and home directories. Research Computing can help with SSHing to Nobel and any software issues.