Lab Information

Server Info

The lab has two multi-GPU servers on campus dedicated to research use: El Capitan and Half Dome.

Logging In

You can log in with your Cal Poly credentials. You need to be on the Cal Poly VPN if you are off campus.


You will want to work on the local storage rather than your home directory which is network storage. Each user has a directory at


Datasets can be stored under





We are moving towards using Anaconda instead of Docker to manage Python configurations.

You first need to install Miniconda. Run:


Then, after exiting out and reconnecting, run:

conda update -y conda

Creating Conda environments

You can create a conda environment using “conda create.” For example:

conda create --name tf tensorflow-gpu==2.2.0

will create an environment named “tf” that has a GPU-compatible version of Tensorflow 2.2.0 installed.

To use the environment, do:

conda activate tf

For more dependencies, you can create a file that lists them named environment.yml:

name: tf
  - conda
  - conda-forge
  - python==3.6
  - pip>=10.0
  - tensorflow-gpu==2.2.0

Now do:

conda env create

to create the environment using the environment.yml file that you created.

You can also simply do “conda install” or “pip install” to install dependencies inside the conda environment. (Do “conda install pip” first to use pip.)

To select which GPU to use, you can do:

export CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=<0,1,2, or 3>



to check GPU availability.


Docker should only be used if you can’t get a working set up with conda. You need to be added to the docker group in order to use docker.

To use Docker, you need to create a Dockerfile and store it in a sub-directory. For example, create a text file at “docker/Dockerfile.” Here is an example Dockerfile for Tensorflow:

FROM tensorflow/tensorflow:latest-gpu-py3
RUN apt-get update ; apt-get install vim git wget -y
RUN pip install --upgrade scikit-image tqdm opencv-python

To build the Dockerfile:

docker build docker -t <tag>

You can choose whatever you want for the tag.

To start Docker:

docker run -u $(id -u):$(id -g) --rm --gpus device=<gpu> -it -v /data:/data -v /data2:/data2 -v /data3:/data3 -e USER=$USER -e HOME=/data/$USER -w $PWD <tag> bash

Set to the GPU number that you want to use (0,1,2, or 3). You can use


to check GPU availability.


You should run your sessions inside of “tmux” to avoid SSH timeout and be able to return to sessions after disconnecting. Start a session with “tmux”, use ctl-b ctl-d to leave tmux and “tmux attach” to get back into it. You can finds lots other keyboard commands for tmux.

Uploading and downloading files

I like to use Cyberduck to connect to the server via SFTP and download or upload files.