Can you remove me from the Brown users mailing list?


Your subscription in the Brown mailing list is tied to your account on Brown. If you are no longer using your account on Brown, your account can be deleted from the My Accounts page. Hover over the resource you wish to remove yourself from and click the red 'X' button. Your account and mailinglist subscription will be removed overnight. Be sure to make a copy of any data you wish to keep first.

How is Brown different from the previous Community Clusters?

  • Each Brown node contains the latest generation of Intel Xeon processor, codenamed Skylake.

Do I need to do anything to my firewall to access Brown?

No firewall changes are needed to access Brown. However, to access data through Network Drives (i.e., CIFS, "Z: Drive"), you must be on a Purdue campus network or connected through VPN.


I receive this message when logging in:

/usr/bin/xauth: error in locking authority file


Your home directory disk quota is full. You may check your quota with myquota.

You will need to free up space in your home directory.


Your console hangs while trying to connect to a RCAC Server.


This can happen due to various reasons. Most common reasons for hanging SSH terminals are:

  • Network: If you are connected over wifi, make sure that your Internet connection is fine.
  • Busy front-end server: When you connect to a cluster, you SSH to one of the front-ends. Due to transient user loads, one or more of the front-ends may become unresponsive for a short while. To avoid this, try reconnecting to the cluster or wait until the server you have connected to has reduced load.
  • File system issue: If a server has issues with one or more of the file systems (home, scratch, or depot) it may freeze your terminal. To avoid this you can connect to another front-end.

If neither of the suggestions above work, please contact specifying the name of the server where your console is hung.


You have graduated or left Purdue but continue collaboration with your Purdue colleagues. You find that your access to Purdue resources has suddenly stopped and your password is no longer accepted.


Access to all Research Computing resources depends on having a valid Purdue Career Account. Expired Career Accounts are removed twice a year, during Spring and October breaks (more details at the official page). If your Career Account was purged due to expiration, you will not be be able to access the resources.

To provide remote collaborators with valid Purdue credentials, the University provides a special procedure called R4P ("request for privileges") (see details under 'Data/Access' tab). If you need to continue your collaboration with your Purdue PI, the PI will have to work with their departmental Business Office to submit or renew an R4P request on your behalf.

After your R4P is completed and Career Account is restored, please note two additional necessary steps:

  • Access: Restored Career Accounts by default do not have any Research Computing resources enabled for them. Your PI will have to login to the Manage Users tool and explicitly re-enable your access by un-checking and then ticking back checkboxes for desired queues/Unix groups resources.

  • Email: Restored Career Accounts by default do not have their email service enabled. While this does not preclude you from using Research Computing resources, any email messages (be that generated on the clusters, or any service announcements) would not be delivered - which may cause inconvenience or loss of compute jobs. To avoid this, we recommend setting your restored email service to "Forward" (to an actual address you read). The easiest way to ensure it is to go through the Account Setup process.


You receive the following message after entering a command to bring up a graphical window

cannot connect to X server cannot open display


This can happen due to multiple reasons:

  1. Reason: Your SSH client software does not support graphical display by itself (e.g. SecureCRT or PuTTY).
    • Solution: Try using a client software like Thinlinc or MobaXterm as described in the SSH X11 Forwarding guide.
  2. Reason: You did not enable X11 forwarding in your SSH connection.

    • Solution: If you are in a Windows environment, make sure that X11 forwarding is enabled in your connection settings (e.g. in MobaXterm or PuTTY). If you are in a Linux environment, try

      ssh -Y -l username hostname

  3. Reason: If you are trying to open a graphical window within an interactive job, make sure you are using the -X option with qsub after following the previous step(s) for connecting to the front-end. Please see the example in the Interactive Jobs guide.
  4. Reason: If none of the above apply, make sure that you are within quota of your home directory.


You receive the following message after typing a command

bash: command not found


This means the system doesn't know how to find your command. Typically, you need to load a module to do it.


You receive the following message after typing a command, e.g. module load intel

bash: module command not found


The system cannot find the module command. You need to source the file as below

source /etc/profile.d/


#!/bin/bash -i


You receive the following message after trying to launch Firefox browser inside your graphics desktop:

Close Firefox

Firefox is already running, but not responding.  To open a new window,
you  must first close the existing Firefox process, or restart your system.


When Firefox runs, it creates several lock files in the Firefox profile directory (inside ~/.mozilla/firefox/ folder in your home directory). If a newly-started Firefox instance detects the presence of these lock files, it complains.

This error can happen due to multiple reasons:

  1. Reason: You had a single Firefox process running, but it terminated abruptly without a chance to clean its lock files (e.g. the job got terminated, session ended, node crashed or rebooted, etc).
    • Solution: If you are certain you do not have any other Firefox processes running elsewhere, please use the following command in a terminal window to detect and remove the lock files:
      $ unlock-firefox
  2. Reason: You may indeed have another Firefox process (in another Thinlinc or Gateway session on this or other cluster, another front-end or compute node). With many clusters sharing common home directory, a running Firefox instance on one can affect another.
    • Solution: Try finding and closing running Firefox process(es) on other nodes and clusters.
    • Solution: If you must have multiple Firefoxes running simultaneously, you may be able to create separate Firefox profiles and select which one to use for each instance.

How do I know Non-uniform Memory Access (NUMA) layout on Brown?

  • You can learn about processor layout on Brown nodes using the following command:
    brown-a000:~$ lstopo-no-graphics
  • For detailed IO connectivity:
    brown-a000:~$ lstopo-no-graphics --physical --whole-io
  • Please note that NUMA information is useful for advanced MPI/OpenMP/GPU optimizations. For most users, using default NUMA settings in MPI or OpenMP would give you the best performance.

How is my Data Secured on Brown?

Brown is operated in line with policies, standards, and best practices as described within Secure Purdue, and specific to Research Computing Resources.

Security controls for Brown are based on ones defined in NIST cybersecurity standards.

Brown supports research at the L1 fundamental and L2 sensitive levels. Brown is not approved for storing data at the L3 restricted (covered by HIPAA) or L4 Export Controlled (ITAR), or any Controlled Unclassfied Information (CUI).

For resources designed to support research with heightened security requirements, please look for resources within the REED+ Ecosystem.

For additional information

Log in with your Purdue Career Account.

Can I share data with outside collaborators?

Yes! Globus allows convenient sharing of data with outside collaborators. Data can be shared with collaborators' personal computers or directly with many other computing resources at other intstitutions. See the Globus documentation on how to share data:

Can I access Fortress from Brown?

Yes. While Fortress directories are not directly mounted on Brown for performance and archival protection reasons, they can be accessed from Brown front-ends and nodes using any of the recommended methods of HSI, HTAR or Globus.


Pip throws an error after loading the machine learning modules. How can I fix it?


Machine learning modules (tensorflow, pytorch, opencv etc.) include a version of pip that is newer than the one installed with Anaconda. As a result it will throw an error when you try to use it.

$ pip --version
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/apps/cent7/anaconda/5.1.0-py36/bin/pip", line 7, in <module>
    from pip import main
ImportError: cannot import name 'main'

The preferred way to use pip with the machine learning modules is to invoke it via Python as shown below.

$ python -m pip --version


How can I get access to Sentaurus tools for micro- and nano-electronics design?


Access to Sentaurus software requires a signed NDA. To start this process, log in to the following site with your Purdue career account:

Once the licensing process is complete and you have been added into a cae2 Unix group, you could use Sentaurus on RCAC community clusters by loading the corresponding environment module:

module load sentaurus


Can I get a private (virtual or physical) server from RCAC?


Often, researchers may want a private server to run databases, web servers, or other software. RCAC currently does not offer private servers (formerly known as "Firebox").

For use cases like this, we recommend the Jetstream Cloud ( an NSF-funded science cloud allocated through the XSEDE project. RCAC staff can help get you access to Jetstream to test, or to help write an allocation proposal for larger projects.

Alternatively, you may consider commercial cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Azure, or Digital Ocean. These services are very flexible, but do come with a monetary cost.