Peter J Wilcoxen > PAI 789 Advanced Policy Analysis

MaxLab Cluster

Signing up for access:

Maxwell's IT group, ICT, has built a cluster of virtual machines (VMs) for use by people from this and other classes. The servers have both Anaconda (although a slightly older version) and QGIS. To sign up for access, use the first link below:

When your account is set up, the ICT folks will send instructions on how to get access to the servers.

Short cut to the VM launch page:

The link below is a short cut to the page that you'll use to connect once your account is active. However, it will only work if you are using a VPN connection to the campus network (explained in the email from ICT).

Note for Mac users with versions of macOS below 10.12:

Mac users will need to download a copy of Microsoft Remote Desktop. The ICT instructions specify that Remote Desktop 10 is required, and it only runs on macOS 10.12 or later. A workaround is to get to MAXLab in a couple of steps:

  1. First, connect to to start an SULabs VM. SULabs is not the same as MAXLab and the VM won't have QGIS installed. However, it will run in the browser and doesn't require any software to be installed. You'll use your netid to log in.
  2. Second, open a browser on the SULabs VM and go to That will let you start a MAXLab VM from the SULabs VM. When you start the session you'll notice that a small file will be downloaded. Double-click on it to start the actual connection.
  3. Third, if all has gone well you should see one more login prompt. Once you sign in to that you'll see your desktop on the MAXLab VM. You'll be able to tell you've made it to MAXLab because there will be a small blue bar at the top of the window with a server name in it like "".

If you try this you'll quickly find out if you're a half-full or half-empty person. The half-empty part is that it's a little clunky and confusing since you'll end up going through two machines and will be doing everything through a browser. The half-full part is that it works amazingly well considering that you're going through two machines and doing everything through a web browser.

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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 04/04/2020