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Some large datasets may on occasion need to be visualized in place, on the cluster. For these situations, the user has several options which are detailed below.


The most common approach to visualization is by connecting to the server with a flag to set the X11 forwarding details. The most common ones are:

ssh -X someone@something.ip.address # ForwardX11
ssh -Y someone@something.ip.address # ForwardX11Trusted

However, a more practically useful method is to modify the ssh configuration file itself. The following snippet can be added:

Host *
ForwardAgent yes
ForwardX11 yes
ForwardX11Trusted yes
XAuthLocation /opt/X11/bin/xauth # For a Mac with XQuartz

For Linux (and Windows with WSL 2) machines, which xauth will provide the path for the XAuthLocation variable. Now the user is free to connect directly:

ssh someone@something.ip.address # Reads the ssh configuration

A quick test to see if X forwarding is working is to type


which should open up a small clock gui showing the local time.