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.
Click the icon labelled 'VirtualDesktop', The desktop instance will last as long as your Jupyter session.
Several scripts are available that will help you get started by setting up desktop shortcuts and loading module in the base environment. These can be found at
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
~/.vdt/vdtrc.sh. This file is sourced before launching the desktop.
Recommend setting scaling to 'remote'
All local settings can be restored by running the command
/opt/nesi/vdt clean). Note, this will probably break any running desktop sessions.
You can help contribute to this project here.