Virtual Desktop via Jupyter on NeSI

A virtual desktop provides a graphical interface to using the cluster. Desktops are hosted within Singularity containers, so not all of the NeSI software stack is supported. If you would like to build your own desktop containers with the code here.

Rendering is done cluster-side, and compressed before being sent to your local machine. This means any rendering should be significantly more responsive than when using X11 on its own (approximately 40 times faster).

The quickest and easiest way to get started with a desktop is through Jupyter on NeSI, connect here.

First Time Install

In a terminal, run the command:

pip install --user git+

Restart your JupyterLab instance and you should see a 'VirtualDesktop' icon.


Click the icon labelled 'VirtualDesktop', The desktop instance will last as long as your Jupyter session.



You may manage modules inside a terminal as usual using the module command, however these changes won't propagate to the desktop environment. Modules to be loaded in the desktop can be set by modifying the file at ~/.vnc/setup.config


Recommend setting scaling to 'remote'

Restore Defaults

All local settings can be restored by running the command vdt clean (or /opt/nesi/vdt clean). Note, this will probably break any running desktop sessions.

You can help contribute to this project here.

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