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  Helix Systems

Information for New Users

[Accounts] [Connect] [Transfer] [Policies] [Password] [Charges][Doc] [Print]

[Startup] [Mail] [Editors] [Space] [Backups] [Help] [Training] [News]


The Helix Group currently supports four systems: Helix, Nimbus, Quasar and Biowulf. For detail about these systems, Please visit The Helix Systems Overview.

The continued growth and support of Helix Systems is dependent upon its demonstrable value to the intramural program. In the past we have been successful in obtaining support by citing published work which involved the use of our systems. When publishing data resulting from usage of Helix Systems, please use the following citation in the article:

This study utilized the high-performance computational capabilities of the Helix Systems at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (

Please report the publication of articles which made use of the Helix Systems to Helix staff, either by citing the reference in email to, or by mailing a copy of the article to:

Chief, Helix Systems Staff
NIH, Center for Information Technology
Rm 2N207, Building 12B
Bethesda, MD 20892-5680

Most users will have their computing needs met simply by logging into the Helix machine where the following services are available. However, some users will need to use Nimbus, Quasar or Biowulf in addition to Helix. If you are unsure about which system is best suited to your needs or applications, contact the helix staff at

  • Accounts - How to get a Helix account and a Biowulf account.
  • Connecting to the helix systems - Internet names of the Helix Systems computers, how to connect using ssh, telnet or a connection program such as Versaterm Pro. Dialin access numbers.
  • Transferring files to/from helix - How to transfer files from your desktop machine to the helix systems computers.
  • Policies - Policies for usage of the helix system.
  • Account locking and password aging - Security issues, password policies, and how to choose a good password.
  • Charges - Charges for Helix Systems accounts and disk space.
  • Documentation - An overview of the documentation available for Unix and for the scientific software. How to order hardcopy documentation. How to get online help.
  • Printing - How to print from the helix systems directly to your networked or local printer.
  • Startup files - Files that are automatically created in your account, and how to modify them.
  • Mail - How to use the mail system on helix.
  • Editors - Editors are used to create or modify files. Several editors are available.
  • Disk Space - Disk quotas and storage options.
  • Backups - Backup policies, and how to get files restored.
  • Assistance &/or problems - How to contact the helix staff for questions and problems.
  • Training - Courses and seminars for users, some taught by the Helix staff. See also Course/seminar notes.
  • Keeping you informed - Messages displayed at login will keep you informed of new developments. Call us if you are interested in particular facilities. News and events are also posted on our web site.


Helix Systems, CIT, NIH
last update: October 16, 2003