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Wiki for Virtual [Demography], [CEDA], [PopCenter] and Sociology Lab.

The most useful part of this wiki is in How To Do Stuff.

Please consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.


Welcome to the Demography Lab, the computing facility for the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging, the Berkeley Population Center, and the Departments of Demography and Sociology.

The Demography/CEDA/PopCenter Lab strives to be an experts-help-novices rather than a users-vs-providers community. Since we presently lack both a call center in Bangalore to ignore your phone calls, and 24/7 coverage by a staff of well paid, good natured and perfectly sane professionals, we must rely on each other.

Carl Mason and Carl Boe know the root passwords, but neither is employed full time to maintain this system.

When you need help, this wiki and the official Demography Lab website are good places to look first-- and perhaps to return to when your problem is solved.

It is also reasonable to send email to ' if you have a question or smell smoke, or encounter something that sys/admins need to take care of. Carl and Carl monitor We can generally either answer your question or "escalate" it to the expert who is probably sitting next to your in the lab.


Virtual Lab

Access to the virtual lab (which is how most people use it) is provided via a freeNX client. This clever opensource software knows how to communicate very efficiently with one of the Demography Lab servers. Together the server and client produce a virtual desktop on your local personal computer from which you can run all sorts of scientific software including:

and lots of others others,

Note that Rstudio can be run in your browser without freeNX -- and it works better that way. If Rstudio on a big server is all you need to do science then just Demography Lab account and login via

Because freeNX gives you access to a desktop you can also easily run utility programs such as:

  • browsers
  • file transfer programs
  • email clients
  • document processing programs like:

Once you are connected to the virtual lab, you have everything you need in order to do science:

  • You can download or upload data ( See Help:Disk Usage for where and how much)
  • You can share data with your local machine via [1] (See Help:DropBox for instructions on setting up Dropbox)
  • You can recover from (some) stupid mistakes (See Help:Backups for details on how things are backed up)
  • You can leave your desktop and come back to it later -- perhaps even from a different machine and find it as you left it (See Help:Connecting and disconnecting for details on how programs keep running while your session is disconnected).

Getting Started

Helping others make the best possible use of this facility will make you a better person. Please send email to cmason(at) with additions and corrections. If you ask nicely, we might even let you setup a user id so that you can edit the wiki yourself. BUT most of all just help people when they ask you.

To Get Started check out the Getting Started link in How To Do Stuff

16:34, 24 June 2015 (PST)