Computing at Theoretical Physics

Theoretical Physics provides several kinds of computing resource to enable its students and staff to carry out effective research. The systems provided include a highly-capable Linux desktop computing system, and access to several cluster computers for users with high-performance computing needs.

There are several ways to contact computer support in Theory, but by far the most useful is to email

This (very) quick guide can help you make more effective and efficient requests, please have a look.

Intel CPU (Image Source)

Quick links

  • To request an account on the Linux desktop system, please contact the departmental administrator.
  • To register a laptop for use on the wireless network (be it yours or that of a visitor), please click here.
  • A code of etiquette for running numerical jobs on the Linux machines is available here.
  • To have your Linux desktop system upgraded to the latest version of Ubuntu, contact
  • A description of the procedure for Self-Maintaining a system in Theoretical Physics can be found here
  • The policy for purchasing a laptop in Theoretical Physics can be found here

Overview of services

Theoretical Physics itself provides:

New Users

To use facilities in Physics, you will need to ensure you have:

  • Your University Single Sign-On (SSO). You will access this via a reset code provided by your subdepartmental administrator. SSO accounts have the form abcd1234
  • Your Physics Account, by resetting the password using your SSO. Read the page carefully that describes how to do this. Physics accounts have the form surname, surnamef or firstnamesurname.
  • Your University email and calendar, accessed by entering your SSO in the form abcd1234@OX.AC.UK on Microsoft's page, then abcd1234 on the University's page that Microsoft redirects you to.
  • Logged on to MS Teams and preferably installed the client on your devices.
  • Attended the talk (slides here) that describes the subdepartmental, departmental and university computing resources, personnel, processes and policies.
  • Found out which desktop computer has been allocated to you: this should be sent to your Physics email after a while, but if you don't have the information for some reason, contact Physics IT support
  • Set up ssh, VPN and installed X2Go client on your computer. Set the ssh gateway to, use the same username and password as for the desktop. Set the session type to XFCE. Refer to the desktop by its fully qualified domain name, of the form


Documentation for the Linux desktop system can be found here (Physics network only). The documentation is continually in the process of being updated, and some is out-of-date. Please feel free to log in with your Physics username and password to make changes and add pages as you see fit. Once documentation is finalised, it will be copied to these pages.

The desktop system, changes from time to time as new versions of the operating system come out and software is requested or noticed to be useful. Requests for additional software or suggestions for improvement are very welcome either as wiki edits, or by getting in touch directly.

Brief documentation for the use of the cluster computer Hydra can be found here.

We also have further information about connecting to printers and provisions for web service. Some of this documentation may be restricted to hosts within Physics.

Public policy documents

Categories: Theory