At Duke, you have access to virtual and physical computing labs.
All Duke faculty, staff, and students can use Virtual Computing Manager (VCM) to claim a semester-long reservation on a virtual software container or a virtual machine (VM) for coursework or student projects.
A container is a pre-built software environment that provides web browser access to software such as Jupyter or RStudio. The container is private to you and allows you to use specialized computational software without having to install it yourself.
A VM allows users to access their own Windows or Linux system for development projects, or to install and run specialized software not suited for personal laptops, desktops, or a software container. While a VM is very flexible, it is also more complicated to use and manage.
A number of Duke courses use custom software containers or virtual machines for coursework so that all students are using the same software environment. Custom software containers can be requested by Duke instructors and their designees to support Duke courses.
There are more than a dozen physical computing labs on campus. Most labs are open 24 hours a day while classes are in session, but some have limited hours. Labs offer a variety of hardware and software and can be reserved for Duke-related functions.