Getting started on Mac

Revision as of 21:20, 31 March 2021 by C.carouge (talk | contribs) (NCI Virtual Desktop (VDI))

Mac operating system and Linux are both based on Unix. This means it is possible to connect to the supercomputer Gadi from the Mac straight out of the box. However, some functionalities are missing. We also recommend installing several software to improve on your experience.

XQuartz: required

You will need to install XQuartz. This software allows you to show remote windows from Gadi on your own screen. For installation, you can go to the XQuartz website and follow the prompts or use this video

NCI Virtual Desktop (VDI)

NCI's virtual desktops (VDI) are an easy way to connect to NCI facilities from desktop computers. VDI provides a Linux desktop in a window, running on NCI's cloud

Check NCI's VDI documentation for the current installation and setup instructions


  • Access to NCI's /g/data filesystem
  • Conda and Matlab (see NCI documentation) available
  • No compute time/SU charge
  • Doesn't require a powerful home computer
  • When viewing graphical windows, connection can be faster than via X11 on slow networks


  • VDI servers are shared between multiple users

Anaconda Python / Rstudio

We recommend using Anaconda if you're working with Python on your own computer. This makes it easy to install packages like numpy and netCDF4, which depend on binary libraries. Anaconda uses the same system we use for the Conda environments at NCI. Anaconda also supports Rstudio if you work with R.

You can install the Mac native version. We recommend enabling the 'conda-forge' package repository, you will find a wider variety of packages there and they are generally well supported.