Astronomy Computing Facility

Available Systems

At the present time the following systems are available for use as a part of the ACF:

All of the aforementioned machines are running the CentOS 6.6 distribution of linux and they share the same /home partition. You may log into any of these systems using via secure shell, i.e. ssh, or directly at the console in room 445B.

Critical note: We do not maintain backups of the /home directory. Backing up your data is your responsibility! You may find it useful to back up your data to DVD using the k3b DVD burner found on some of the systems. Please see the system administrator if you require assistance.


The default compiler system is currently GCC 4.4.6 but the GCC 4.8.2 compilers are available under the /opt/centos/devtoolset-2/root tree. If you wish to use the GCC 4.8.2 compilers you should add the appropriate bin and man directories to the beginning of your PATH, and MANPATH environment variables.


IDL is available on some, but not all of the public machines. IDL users are advised to use kirk and scotty, the two most capable machines.

Web space

All users with accounts on the ACF systems have web space on the Astro group web server at This web space is available through the ACF public systems via the /www disk which is mounted only on kirk. Each user has their own subdirectory on the /www disk with the path /www/your_user_name. The URL for each user's web site is For example: a user with the username inewton would have a web directory at /www/inewton and their URL would be Please note that there is no "~" in the URL.


Printing on the printers in Rm. 445B is available for PostScript and text files on the ACF systems using the lpr command. The default printer queue is the B&W duplex queue. The queue may be specified by the command: lpr -P queue_name where queue_name is one of the following:
  • hpk the B&W simplex (single-sided) queue
  • hpdup the B&W duplex (double-sided) queue
  • hpcolor the color simplex (single-sided) queue
  • hpcdup the color duplex (double-sided) queue
Please see the system administrator if you require assistance in setting up printing to these systems from your own computer.

Available Software

There are a number of useful software packages installed on the ACF systems including:
  • IDL (ver 8.1) for data analysis and plotting
  • Gnuplot for plotting
  • SM, a.k.a. SuperMongo (ver. 2.4.36), for plotting
  • GCC the Gnu Compiler Collection (ver. 4.4.6) including compilers for C, C++, and F95
  • Python (ver. 2.6.6 ) a very useful scripting language
  • Numpy for linear algebra and numerical computing with Python
  • Scipy the Python scientific computing algorithms package
  • Matplotlib the powerful MATPLOTLIB package for plotting
  • Octave the freeware clone of MATLAB for linear algebra and other numerical computing
  • Maxima & Xmaxima the maxima symbolic algebra system
  • Adobe Acroread the Adobe Acrobat reader for PDF files
  • LaTeX the LaTeX typesetting package
  • Emacs and Xemacs the EMACS editing system
  • Xv the Xv image viewer
  • Firefox the Firefox web browser
  • Google Chrome the Google Chrome web browser
  • Adobe Flash the Adobe Flash plugin for video
  • Open Office the Open Office suite (oowriter, oocalc, ooinpress, etc.)
  • HDF5 the Hierarchical Data Format libraries (ver. 1.8)
Custom libraries for these packages should be installed in user directories. We regret that we cannot install these in common space as there are often conflicts between various versions of the libraries. If you need assistance with finding any of these packages please see the system administrator.

Wifi Access

WiFi is available on the 4th floor of the ESS building via WolfieNet Secure and WolfieNet-Guest. Please click on the preceding links for instructions on how to connect.