skip to content

Department of Computer Science and Technology


The Managed Cluster Service (MCS) consists of several computer rooms equipped with Internet-connected personal computers that are centrally managed by the Computing Service. It was previously known as Public Workstation Facility (PWF). The Computer Laboratory provides its students with an MCS room in the Intel Laboratory on the second floor of the William Gates Building. Additional MCS computers are found in many colleges and libraries throughout Cambridge.

Tips for using the Computer Laboratory MCS

Remote access

Each MCS workstation can be booted into either Windows or Linux. In addition, the Computer Laboratory sponsors a MCS remote server that is continuously running Linux and is dedicated for use via remote access by Computer Science students and members of the department: 

This is in addition to the public service available at: 

Remote access is only possible via the SSH protocol, (e.g. ssh, slogin, xon [on machines], or PuTTY under Windows), but not via telnet or rsh. See the MCS FAQ about requiring a password for the 'first' session.
There is a delay when connecting, which may be associated with the fact that there seems to be a very short session before the main session.

If you cannot login with your MCS user id and password then contact Any other problems should be treated as per MCS Linux, e.g. read the UCS MCS Linux pages or contact the UCS Service Desk (, 34681). If you are contacting the Help Desk please make it clear that you are connecting to one of the remote MCS Linux servers and not using a MCS Linux workstation.