Faculty and Staff Technology Support

Student Laptop Requirement

If you need additional technical support for the required student laptop program, email helpdesk@ist.psu.edu.

Working Remotely

If you are going to work remotely, some things will need to be verified before you leave your office. Take your laptop, and any other required hardware with you (including IBIS tokens).

Make sure your cell or home phone is set up for 2 Factor Authentication for getting into sites protected with WebAccess.

  • Go to https://2fa.psu.edu.
  • You will be prompted to enter your PSU WebAccess login information. (If you currently only have your desk phone set up, do your usual process for this step.)
  • Go through the steps to Add New Device
  • For a mobile device:
    • Downloading the DUO app to your phone is the easiest way to make 2FA work on your device. It can send a push notification and doesn’t cost anything.
    • Open the app and scan the QR code that pops up during the device enrollment.
  • For a home phone:
    • Add your home phone number.
    • When you need to log into something protected with WebAccess, you can opt to have your home phone ring, instead of using a cell phone or your office phone.
  • This will activate the secure 2FA connection between WebAccess and your device.
  • More information on 2FA can be found here: https://get2fa.psu.edu/

Forward your office phone to your cell or whatever phone you will be using while working from home.

  • Open a browser and go to https://my.voip.psu.edu.
  • If prompted, enter your Web Access info (chance to test your DUO installation).
  • Click Phone Settings at the top menu. You may get a message saying, "Your connection is not private". Click Advanced then click the link "Proceed to mohblue.phone.psu.edu (unsafe)".
  • On the right, you will see a picture of the model of your phone. On the left, select "Call Forwarding".
  • Check the box beside "Forward all calls to:" and change from Voicemail to Add a New Number.
  • Nothing needs changed in the "Advanced calling rules" section.
  • Enter the number to forward to then click Save.
  • More information on VOIP can be found here: https://pennstate.service-now.com/sp?id=kb_article&sys_id=61de2652db7893c497c9ffe61d9619c4

Open a browser and go to desktop.ist.psu.edu. Enter your Penn State username and password

Additional Information

Working within an IST system from a web browser is different than a direct connection the way you normally work by double-clicking the icon on your laptop. Please keep the following points in mind as you're working:

  • The IST machine is in a web browser window. It can get confusing when you have "computers within computers". You might to consider having as few of browser windows open as possible to keep your experience streamlined.
  • Copy/paste of text between your local machine and the IST machine is possible, but you must use your keyboard shortcuts (Control+C to copy and Control+V to paste) on your local computer's keyboard. Right clicking and choosing "copy" within the IST machine browser window will not let you copy text out. The same goes for pasting -- you cannot right click in the IST machine browser window and paste text.
  • If you get disconnected for any reason, just run through the connection steps again and you should be able to rejoin the IST machine as you left it.

The IST SSH Gateway supports remote access to Linux and Macintosh systems on the wired IST network that have ssh/remote access configured.

System Requirements

  • An appropriate SSH client for the operating system you're working on. Putty works well for Windows, the Terminal app in OS X is fully featured, or the SSH client appropriate to your shell on a Linux system are the suggested, best-supported clients.
  • SSH remote access configured on the Linux or Macintosh system you're trying to connect to.
  • As of December 1, 2020, an active VPN connection is required to SSH or SFTP to any Penn State system.

How to Connect

  • The address to connect is ssh.ist.psu.edu.
  • The port is 22.
  • Access is available from any Internet address/network.
  • The credentials you must log in with are your Penn State username and password. 

How to Transfer Files

  • SFTP and SCP are supported methods for transferring files to ssh.ist.psu.edu.
  • SCP is the suggested method for transferring files from ssh.ist.psu.edu to your data's final destination(s).
  • Clients such as FileZilla (Mac/Linux) or Putty SCP (Windows) should work for connection.

Additional Information

  • Typing in your password incorrectly three times will result in a 1 hour ban. The error you will receive is "connection refused". Once the hour passes, you will be able to try logging in again. If you're unsure of your password, please contact the IST Helpdesk.
  • Concurrent logins are limited to 2. The intent of this service is for you to connect back to a desktop or server, then manage your additional connections from there with tmux, screen, or an equivalent package that maintains your sessions.
  • Full graphical access (X11) on ssh.ist.psu.edu is not supported.
  • Maintenance on home directories is run weekly on Friday mornings. Any data, including stored ssh keys, saved locally in your home directory is subject to deletion. Your data is not backed up.

The IST Helpdesk can connect remotely to your computer, using Zoom. The Helpdesk will coordinate a time with you and send you a Zoom link. At the scheduled time, join the Zoom meeting. The support specialist will make you a co-host, at which time you'll be able to share your screen.


LXResearch is a general usage Linux cluster, it is CPU based only. Full graphical access (X11) on lxreseach.ist.psu.edu is NOT supported. To access lxresearch.ist.psu.edu remotely, you must first be able to log into the IST SSH Gateway (ssh.ist.psu.edu).

Who can use it?

Any IST faculty member, graduate, or student researcher that is affiliated with an IST research group.

How do I connect?

SSH to ssh.ist.psu.edu using your IST account and password.

Once logged into the gateway, you may ssh over to lxresearch.ist.psu.edu using your *PSU username and password*.

If you find you cannot log into lxresearch, please send a request to helpdesk@ist.psu.edu and include the following:

  • Your full name and Penn State username (You will use your PSU account to sign in via SSH).
  • If you're not a faculty member, the name of the faculty sponsor of your research. CC the faculty member on your request as their approval will be needed in writing before access will be granted.

Once you've received access, you may SSH to lxresearch.ist.psu.edu from any wired IST network address. If you are working remotely, you may connect through ssh.ist.psu.edu.

OK, I've connected successfully. Now what?

You may use any Linux package by installing it in your home directory including python and associated packages. To utilize them, you may, for example, install Anaconda to your home directory and then create your environment as needed.

How do I install things in my home directory without sudo or root access?

If you are not familiar with setting up and compiling Linux software and binaries in your home directory, visit https://nullprogram.com/blog/2017/06/19/

Ok, so what if I do want to install Anaconda?

From your home directory, run:

[user@lxresearch ~]# wget https://repo.continuum.io/archive/Anaconda3-5.0.1-Linux-x86_64.sh
[user@lxresearch ~]# /bin/bash Anaconda3-5.0.1-Linux-x86_64.sh

Can you give an example of 'compiling' something on Linux?

Sure, let's look at this example from Pachterlab:


Since we will be installing things to your home directory, you should add $HOME/bin to your PATH if you haven’t already. This ensures that your shell knows where to look for binaries (cmake for exmple). For this current session, run the following from your terminal:

export PATH=$HOME/bin:$PATH

Afterwards, place the same code into your shell startup file (e.g. one of ~/.bashrc, ~/.zshrc, etc.).

We’ll assume all downloads are in ~/Downloads. Make sure to change to the downloads directory before downloading each one of the source archives (*.tar.gz files)

Building and installing CMake

The easiest way to install CMake is from source. Head over to the CMake downloads page and get the latest “Unix/Linux Source” *.tar.gz file. Make sure to set the --prefix flag correctly, otherwise you won’t have permissions to install files at the default location.

tar -xf cmake*.tar.gz
cd cmake*
./configure --prefix=$HOME
make install

You should now have the most up-to-date installation of cmake. Check the version by typing:

cmake --version

Are you using job management or scheduling?

Not yet. Please be mindful of other users of the system.

How do I get data to the system?

You can scp data to ssh.ist.psu.edu to your home directory and then over to your home directory on lxresearch.