TPAC provides an image in NeCTAR Cloud with Matlab 2013 installed. The image also includes X2Go server that allow users to run MATLAB in the remote desktop environment and access the Matlab from anywhere through the Internet. MATE desktop is installed and it provides GUI support for the Matlab and facilities better user experience that console access. For more information about how to use X2Go and MATE desktop, please refer to the article ‘TPAC Remote Desktop X2Go’.

Software and packages in the image

The below lists what software packages have been pre-installed on the TPAC Matlab with remote desktop image:

  • Ubuntu 14.04 (operating system)

  • X2Go Server (remote desktop server)

  • Mate 1.8.1 (GUI desktop)

  • Matlab 2013

  • Python 2.7.6 and Python 3.4

  • openjdk-7

  • nano

  • gcc 4.8, g++ 4.8

  • gimp

What you need

Aside from computer and network access, you will need to be an Australian Access Federation eligible researcher to access the NeCTAR cloud. You will also have to use key-pair security for your virtual machine authentication. Upon first NeCTAR cloud use, AAF eligible researchers are issued with a limited trial allocation. If you need more resources, such as CPU, data storage space, or you need it for longer than your trial allocation, then you can request a NeCTAR allocation.

Launch a Virtual Machine With TPAC Matlab image

The below provides instruction about how to launch a virtual machine in NecTAR using TPAC pre-build image with Matlab, X2Go and MATE.

  • Login to NeCTAR Dashboard with your AAF credentials. Select your project name, click the ‘Images’ and then click tab ‘Public’. You should see the below screenshot:


  • After clicking the tab 'Public', You will see all available public images on screen. Scroll down the list and find the image with name 'TPAC matlab.001 1447740833' and click the ‘Launch’ button. You should see a pop up window like below:


  • In this pop up window, provide some information for the virtual machine, such as name and flavour. Please note, the desktop application such as MATE requires larger root disk size, so it is prefered to use flavour m2.small, m2.medium, m2.large and m2.xlarge as these flavours have 30G root disk.

  • Click 'Access & Security' tab. In this pop up window, provide your key and security group. You also need to open port 22, as X2Go uses it for communication between X2Go Server and Client. So make sure you tick a security group with port 22 open. See below screenshot.


  • Click 'Availability Zone' tab. As the license requirement, the availability zone is restricted to Tasmania Zone. So please make sure you launch a virtual machine in the Tasmania Zone. Otherwise the Matlab won’t work properly. See below screenshot:


  • After clicking the ‘Launch’ button, the virtual machine will be ready in a few minutes. Please write down the IP address of the newly created virtual machine as it will be used later in the X2Go Client to connect to the virtual machine.

For details of how to launch a virtual machine in NeCTAR Cloud, please refer to this link.

Note, TPAC Matlab image only works if the availability zone of the virtual machine is Tasmania Zone as the Matlab uses University of Tasmania Site License. The Matlab will not run if the availability zone is not in Tasmania.

Use Matlab in MATE Desktop

To use the Matlab in the launched virtual machine, you need to use the X20Go Client to connect to it.

Configure the X20Go client with the information you obtained from the launched virtual machine, such as IP address, the default user account, in this case it should be Ubuntu and the private key used for authentication. Please refer to TPAC Remote Desktop User Guide for more information.

So the simple steps are:

  • Configure the X20Go client to create a session for the virtual machine

  • Double Click the session and get connection to the virtual machine

  • If everything goes well, you should see the MATE desktop. See the below screenshot:


  • Once you are in the MATE desktop, click ‘Application’ menu on the top left corner and move mouse cursor over the ‘Programming’ menu

  • A submenu will come out and move mouse over ‘Matlab r2013b’ and click

  • The Matlab main window should appear

For details about how to connect to X2Go Server using X2Go client, please refer to the 'TPAC Remote Desktop X2Go'.

What Next

If you want to use your Matlab virtual machine as a collaboration space, you will need to do some user management. For this you can refer to “Add Accounts on The X2Go Server” in 'TPAC Remote Desktop X2Go' documentation. On top of that, your collaborators will need to install their own X2Go client, refer to the same document.

You can also share data between your local machine with X2Go Client installed and Matlab virtual machine with X2Go Server installed. You can find how from this document.


By default, there is only one default user 'ubuntu' and it uses key based authentication. If you want to create more users to use the virtual machine, please use key based authentication rather than password based authentication. For a quick security check list, please refer to here.

Upgrades and software installation

User initialed upgrades for Matlab and Ubuntu are not encouraged. TPAC will publish upgraded version of Matlab and Ubuntu in new image. Please contact TPAC help desk at to see whether any latest version of Matlab and Ubuntu is available. Other software installation and upgrade can be done via the common installation tools such as apt-get and appititude. Packages can be also installed through the Mate Desktop environment. Please refer to InstallingSoftware and Mate.


If you have problems with TPAC Matlab image and using it, please contact TPAC help desk via, or any help desks from your local Eresearch service providers.