GettingStarted

What you can do at the Demography / CEDA Lab

The Demography / CEDA Lab is a computing network that is optimized for social science research, particularly demography where large datasets are common and simulations and other sorts of compute-intensive techniques are standard. The Demography Lab is also a good place for research projects that require a moderate level of data security. The lab is a joint effort by the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging and the Demography Department.

Although there are workstations available faculty and staff offices, in the attic (library), and in the basement (computer lab) of 2232 Piedmont, most users access the Demography Lab remotely. Several convenient ways of accessing the Demography Lab remotely are described below.

Getting access -- Networking

CalVisitor
The simplest access on campus to the internet is through CalVisitor wifi. This is open/insecure wifi which allows for browser (Rstudio) use, but blocks most other ports and services. Most importantly, SSH and NX protocols are blocked, so that you may not access the Demography / CEDA servers. Journal access and other licensed content from the campus library is not available over CalVisitor. But if you have no other access, this is a good place to start.
AirBears2 and EduRoam
Airbears2 is the standard secured wifi connection on campus and requires authentication. You authenticate with your CalNET username, but with a special pass key that you establish for Airbears2 purposes. EduRoam is equivalent to AirBears2 but authenticates using credentials from your home institution. Further details are on this campus site
Internal LAN ethernet
Ethernet connections are available in all offices, the seminar room, and at docking stations in the basement and in the library. In order to connect, you must have your hardware address registered or use one of the USB/Ethernet dongles the department offers. Contact trouble@demog.berkeley.edu for more information.
Other Networks
You should be able to reach the Demography / CEDA lab from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, provided NX or SSH ports are not blocked. Some services on campus, e.g. licensed content from the library, require that you be on campus, that you use a proxy server or connect to campus with a virtual private network (VPN).

Getting access -- Accounts

Acquire a valid userid/password on the Demography Lab system by filling out and signing this two page form where you promise not to store sensitive data on the system. Scan it and email it to trouble@demog.berkeley.edu.

Options for remote access:

  1. The noMachine client offers the most complete access to everything that linux servers can do. It requires that the user install a free "client" application, but in return you get access to powerful Linux workstation whose desktop appears to run in a window on your personal computer.
  2. Rstudio accessible as a web application. Simply browsing to http://rstudio.demog.berkeley.edu gives you access the Rstudio environment. If your an all R all the time sort of scientist, this may be all you need.
  3. The secure shell, ssh if you long for a more 20th Century sort of computing experience, ssh is a perfectly adequate way to connect. What do you need a mouse for anyway?

These three options are not mutually exclusive in fact you can use all of them at the same time without any detrimental consequences.

Problems (of a computing nature) ?

Send email to trouble@demog.berkeley.edu if things don't work as you would like them to. We actually appreciate knowing when things are broken so please don't suffer in silence.