General Computing: Workstations, Computing and Data Storage

General Computing: Computing and Data Storage

Workstations, Computing and Data Storage

More data. More computing resources. More results. We offer core services to all users for data storage and accessing distributed computing resources.


Our users are allocated a system account (currently about 350 active accounts) to access data storage space and distributed computing resources. Our IT management team supports over 140 individual computers (workstations and rack-mounted servers) on our local network.

We provide a grid-computing cluster, composed of more than 550 CPU cores in varying memory configurations (from 48 up to 512 GB of memory per server) yielding more than 1,100 virtual cores (logical processors). In terms of GPU computing, we currently provide a dual-GPU adapter with 24 GB of memory yielding 4,992 NVIDIA CUDA cores, 3 Tesla C2070 adapters with 6 GB of memory each yielding 1,344 NVIDIA CUDA cores. Adding to that, the GPU computing ability of individual workstations provides more than 20,000 CUDA cores.

We have also greatly upgraded and expanded our storage capacity, now exceeding 750 TB and building up to 1.5 PB of networked space (in situ and in the cloud).

A new local storage space warehouse is hosted in the BIC server room. It consists in a Dell/EMC/Isilon cluster composed at the moment of 5 Isilon storage nodes for a effective usable capacity of 500TB.

It can be seamlessly scaled up in size and performance by simply adding more storage nodes up to 15PB in storage capacity.

Access to the BIC Isilon Cluster storage space by the compute cluster nodes is through a dedicated 10Gigabit/s Fibre optic network. As for the workstations spread over all the different BIC labs, access to the cluster storage space is achieved through a 1Gigabit network provided by McGill IT services (100Mb to the workstation).

McGill IT service now offers 1GbE to the desktop if so desired.

A new 40-core server for Virtual Machines provisioning is also now available, in order to provide researchers with compute and analytic tools for specific tasks and workflows that cannot be easily met with the existing core infrastructure.

In addition, we configure and support high-end BIC Neuroimaging workstations for everyone. Service includes expert consulting for workstation or data server specification, purchase, installation and maintenance (Linux). All workstation installations comprise a series of specialized software applications for neuroimaging research (MINC, SPM, FSL, AFNI, Brainstorm, etc.). Installation of additional software packages can be accommodated upon request.

FAQ, troubleshooting and helpful information can be found here.


We configure and support high-end BIC Neuroimaging workstations for everyone. Service includes expert consulting for workstation or data server specification, purchase, installation and maintenance (Linux). All workstation installations comprise a series of specialized software applications for neuroimaging research (MINC, SPM, FSL, AFNI, Brainstorm, etc.). Installation of additional software packages can be accommodated upon request.

Click here to go to the BIC neuroinformatics application form.

Registration and payment are required to access the BIC's networked data storage resources and BIC Neuroimaging Workstation program.

Please consult our rates before you fill the form. Note that we may not be able to accommodate your request in its entirety in order to best respond to everyone's demand.

Payment for service is for 12 months and required at the time of registration using McGill FOAPAL or external Purchase Orders - see below . Trainees and staff need to coordinate with their Principal Investigator. For users on McGill campus, please indicate a FOAPAL number for payment. For other users (including at the Douglas, RI-MUHC, JGH, etc.) please produce a purchase order and indicate the PO# in the form below. 

For any questions and special requests, please data [at] (subject: BIC%20data) (contact us).

Connection to BIC Servers & Workstations

You can login to the BIC by using a secure, encrypted ssh session and connecting to host This host acts as a login gateway. No other hosts at the BIC permit external logins.

While logged inside the BIC, all workstations and some of the core servers can be accessed using a ssh connection. Note that all data servers have restricted access.

As for workstations, SSH connections from McGill subnets at large, McGill wireless and of course the BIC DHCP subnet are allowed. Security is enforced via PAM and fail2ban, so if you fail to type in a valid password, after the 3rd attempt within 10 minutes, the IP address from your incoming connection will be blackholed for 10 minutes. This is also true for

If you would like to connect to your personal workstation remotely, we support the use of x2go, using as a proxy server. Note that you cannot connect to directly while using x2go.


  • Use secure shell (SSH).

For these platforms, ssh should be installed by default, so just start up a shell and type:


As noted above, we support the use of x2go (for workstations only).


  • Use PuTTY.
  • One can also use Cygwin. Read Dale’s HowTo.
  • x2go as well (for workstations only) - see links above.

Web browser (Google Chrome only)

  • One can also run a ssh client inside a web browser - one is available for the Google Chrome website.
  • Type SSH in the search box and it should show up as the first item.
  • The client provides an xterm-compatible terminal emulator and stand-alone SSH client. It uses Native-Client to connect directly to ssh servers without the need for external proxies.





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