Getting an Argonne MCS Account

The computers which are servers for the ELabs e-Labs are hosted by the Math and Computer Science Division (MCS) at Argonne National Laboratory, and they are behind a firewall. To work on these computers you will need to get a general login account for MCS computers, and then you will want to configure your accounts so that you can pass through the firewall to the ELabs servers. Access to the login server and thence to the ELabs servers is via ssh using public/private keys. If you are not familiar with SSH authentication or want a refresher then see the MCS SSH FAQ.

Follow the instructions presented here to get an MCS login account. The attached PDF document (below) fills in some of the steps in more detail.

  • As a part of the account creation process you will be given a temporary password. You can change your MCS password at any time by going to the MCS Accounts page and then to the Personal Account Page You will use this password to authenticate to the MCS Accounts page, and you can use it for internal access from the login service to the ELabs servers, but it cannot be used to login from outside of Argonne. You will need to user your MCS password if you are going to use sudo to gain root access on our servers (not everyone needs this, of course).

  • Once you have an MCS login account, or while you are in the process of setting it up, you should request the "I2U2" resource. If you neglect to do this when your account is first set up then you can go back to the link listed above and then to the Resource Request Page. You must also request the "Workstation/Login Server" resource to be able to use the ELabs resource(s).

  • Access to the login service from outside Argonne is only via SSH public key authentication, not by password. You should enter your SSH public key in the appropriate place on the Personal Account Page, either when you first create your account or anytime later. An existing SSH key will do, either RSA or DSS, but if you don't have one already then you can generate a key pair with the ssh-keygen command (see the SSH FAQ for instructions). You need to inform MCS Systems whenever you add or change your keys via this form, so that they can transfer the change to your account. You will also need to verify your public key with the MCS Help Desk via telephone.

  • Once your key has been verified you should be able to connect to the login service with the command
    You can try also to use, which is a round-robin alias for all the loginN machines, but if the host key does not match the previous host key you have encountered then you will receive a spurious message that someone might be doing something nasty and spoofing the hostname or IP address, even though nothing is wrong.

  • Once you can login to the login service you should verify that your default login group is "i2u2". If not, you can change this yourself by going to the MCS Accounts page, and then to the Unix Groups Page


If you are planning to develop teacher and student pages using Dreamweaver, then you can use the username and password you choose to do Secure FTP transfers (sftp or scp) between your local machine and the Argonne development machine (www13). If your work requires you to log on to other Argonne machines, then you will need to get an SSH Key.

-- Main.LizQuigg - 10 May 2007 -- Main.EricMyers - 29 May 2007 * MCSAccountRequestScreens.pdf: Getting an Argonne Account
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
MCSAccountRequestScreens.pdfpdf MCSAccountRequestScreens.pdf manage 301 K 2007-05-10 - 22:20 Main.UnknownUser Getting an Argonne Account
Topic revision: r12 - 2019-05-22, AdminUser
This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Foswiki? Send feedback