Quest OnDemand User Guide

Quest OnDemand

Quest OnDemand is a web portal that provides a single, user-friendly access point for Quest, Northwestern's High-Performance Computing (HPC) Cluster. It allows users to submit batch jobs and manage, view, edit, and create files. In addition, it enables users to run Graphical User Interfaces (or GUIs) like Matlab and Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like RStudio Server and Jupyter seamlessly. Knowledge of the command line or Linux is not needed to effectively utilized Quest OnDemand. It is the ideal way to access Quest for new users or those who would like to use graphical applications on Quest.

In addition to this User Guide, we encourage folks to watch our whole videos series on Using Quest OnDemand.

Logging into Quest OnDemand

To learn more about logging into and navigating the Quest OnDemand web portal, please watch our video: Quest OnDemand: Logging into and Navigating the Web Portal.

To connect to Quest Open OnDemand, please first ensure that you are connected to the on-campus WiFi (eduroam) or Global Protect VPN.

Once connected as directed above, direct your browser to which will trigger signing in via Northwestern's Single Sign-On (WebSSO). After you have authenticated via WebSSO, you will see a landing page with a dashboard. The navigation bar will look something like below.

File Explorer and Navigating Quest

To learn more about how to use the Files applications to manage your files on Quest, please watch our video: Quest OnDemand: File Management and Upload.

You can access the Quest file system through the "Files" tab. Under "Files", you will find shortcuts to your HOME directory, allocations directories, and scratch space, if you have one. Files can be viewed, edited, renamed, deleted, and created. Files can also be moved and/or copied between folders on Quest. Files can be uploaded to Quest from your computer using the upload button, and from Quest to your computer with the download button. When transferring large files or large sets of files we recommend using Globus.

Job Composer and Submitting Jobs

To learn more about how to use the Job Composer application to create and submit jobs on Quest, please watch our video Quest OnDemand: Using the Job Composer Application to Create and Submit Jobs on Quest.

Jobs can be monitored, created, edited, and scheduled using the tools under the Jobs menu. The Jobs navigation bar has two options, Job Composer and Active Jobs, which we describe in detail below.

Job Composer

The job composer is a GUI alternative to the Slurm job scheduler with detailed information about what each option is when submitting a job while still acting with the same capabilities a scheduler has. There are three ways to create and submit jobs to Quest using the job composer application. We highlight each of these options, "From Template", "From Specified Path", and "From Selected Job", below.

From Template
From Specified Path
From Selected Job

Active Jobs

Active jobs can be viewed within the Active Jobs tab that provides a list of active jobs with information on user, account, time used, queue, status, cluster, and actions for each of the jobs running. Running and pending jobs can be cancelled from the active jobs list by clicking delete.


Interactive Applications

Quest OnDemand interactive applications allow users to run IDEs and GUIs including MATLAB, Abaqus, Lumerical, Jupyter, Mathematica, RStudio server, GNOME desktop, Stata, and others on Quest compute resources. Running these applications can be challenging using traditional methods such as SSH tunnelling or X11 forwarding with FastX, but Quest OnDemand simplifies this process significantly. If there are any interactive applications that you would like to have added please contact

Accessing Available Interactive Applications

Below we describe two different ways to access the available interactive applications on Quest OnDemand.

Accessing Interactive Apps From the Landing Page
Accessing Interactive Apps from "My Interactive Sessions"

Understanding Interactive App Form Options

Below, we discuss the shared options across the different interactive applications. We encourage you to read the help information on the options that are exclusive to a particular interactive application or to watch our How-To videos for the interactive applications Jupyter, RStudio Server, and Matlab which are linked at the end of this User Guide.

Optional and Hidden Unless Partiton is Valid: GPU(s) that you would like to request
Number of CPUs
Optional Checkbox: Request More Than One Node
Optional: Number of Nodes
Optional: E-mail Address

Jupyter Notebook or Lab

To learn more, please watch our video: Quest OnDemand: Running the Jupyter Lab or Notebook Interactive App.

RStudio Server

To learn more, please watch our video: Quest OnDemand: Running the RStudio Server Interactive App.


To learn more, please watch our video: Quest OnDemand: Running the MATLAB Interactive App.

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Article ID: 2234
Thu 3/23/23 12:59 PM
Sat 3/2/24 1:29 AM