TurboVNC is a good way to provide access to remote visualization applications that works together with VirtualGL - a popular package for remote visualization.

Installing TurboVNC client (viewer)

TurboVNC client Configuration & Start Guide

Note: These instructions are for the KU Leuven visualization nodes only. The UAntwerp visualization node also uses TurboVNC, but the setup is different as the visualization node is currently not in the job queueing system and as TurboVNC is also supported on the regular login nodes (but without OpenGL support). Specific instructions for the use of TurboVNC on the UAntwerp clusters can be found on the page "Remote visualization @ UAntwerp".

  1. Request an interactive job on visualization partition:
    $ qsub -I -X -l partition=visualization	-l pmem=6gb -l nodes=1:ppn=20
  2. Once you are on one of visualization nodes (r10n3 or r10n4) load the TurboVNC module:
    $ module load TurboVNC/1.2.3-foss-2014a
  3. Create password to authenticate your session:
    $ vncpasswd
    In case of problems with saving your password please create the appropriate path first:
    $ mkdir .vnc; touch .vnc/passwd; vncpasswd
  4. Start VNC server on the visualization node (optionally with geometry settings):
    $ vncserver (-depth 24 -geometry 1600x1000)
    As a result you will get the information about the display <d> that you are using (r10n3:), e.g.for <d>=1
    Desktop 'TurboVNC: r10n3:1 (vsc30000)' started on display r10n3:1
  5. Establish the ssh tunnel connection:

    In Linux/ Mac OS:
         $ ssh -L 590<d>:host:590<d> -N vsc30000@login.hpc.kuleuven.be
    e.g. $ ssh -L 5901:r10n3:5901 -N vsc30000@login.hpc.kuleuven.be

    In Windows:
    In putty go to Connection-SSH-Tunnels tab and add the source port 590<d> (e.g. 5901) and destination host:590<d> (e.g. r10n3:5901).
    TVNC set tunnel
    Once the tunnel is added it will appear in the list of forwarded ports:
    TVNC tunnel
    With that settings continue login to the cluster.
  6. Start VNC viewer connection
    Start the client: VSC server as localhost:<d> (where <d> is display number), e.g. localhost:1
    TVNC connect

    Authenticate with your password
    TVNC authenticate
  7. After your work is done do not forget to close your connection:
         $ vncserver -kill :<d>; exit
    e.g. $ vncserver -kill :1; exit

How to start using visualization node?

  1. TurboVNC works with the tab Window Manager twm (more info on how to use it can be found on the Wikipedia twm page or on the twm man page).
  2. To start a new terminal use left click of the mouse and choose xterm
  3. Load the appropriate visualization module (Paraview, VisIt, VMD, Avizo, e.g.
    $ module load Paraview
  4. Start the application. In general the application has to be started using VirtualGL package, e.g.
    $ vglrun –d :0 paraview
    but to make it easier we created scripts (starting with capital letters: Paraview, Visit, VMD) that can execute the necessary commands and start the application, e.g.
    $ Paraview
  5. For checking how much GPUs are involved in your visalization you may execute gpuwatch in the new terminal:
    $ gpuwatch

Attached documents

Slides from the lunchbox session