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Finance Research Server

The Finance Research Server is available for researchers to utilize SAS, STATA and MATLAB and store files.

A Short Guide to Using the Finance Research Server

  • Server Information
    • Host Name: finance.business.illinois.edu
    • Software available:
      • Matlab version (R2009a)
      • SAS version 9.2
      • STATA (MP8-11)

Step 1: Set up an account

Request a login name and password by contacting or

Step 2: VPN

If you will be accessing the finance server off campus you need first to connect to UIUC VPN. If you are accessing the server from a campus IP address VPN is not necessary.

See CITES VPN for a comprehensive installation guide.

Step 3: Download and install software

Download and install SSH Secure Shell Client and SSH Secure File Transfer Client.

The desktops/laptops from the Finance department should have SSH installed. (SSH is not free so installing it on your own computer will require a software purchase).

Alternatively, you can download PuTTY (similar to SSH Secure Shell Client) and WinSCP (for file transfer). If you wish to run programs on the server in a windowing environment, you can download an X-server called Xming to bring the remote desktop to your local desktop. The free software can be downloaded from the following links:

Step 4: Transfer files to and from the server

In order to use SSH or Putty to run your programs on the new finance server, you’ll need to transfer your program files and data to, and get your results back from, the server. Each user will automatically be assigned the directory /home/username/ upon creating an account. You can create sub-directories inside your home directory.

To use WinSCP:

Click on WinSCP, and enter “Host name” and “User name”(normally your netid)as shown.

Click on “Save” to save your profile.

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When prompted, enter a profile name for the finance server. For example, “Finance” as used in this example.

Click “OK”. You’ll arrive at the following screen.

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Click “Login” and enter your password on prompt.

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Now you arrive at the main panel. The left panel shows your local disk and the right one is your home directory on the finance server. You can transfer files by highlighting the target files and then clicking “F5 Copy” at the bottom of the panel.

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To use SSH Secure File Transfer Client:

Click the SSH icon to start the program and create a profile for the finance server first.

Click “Profiles” and then “Add Profiles”. Enter a name for the server, e.g. Finance, and click OK.

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Now if you click “Profiles” again you’ll see “Finance” at the bottom of the list. Click “Edit Profiles”.

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Enter “Host name” and “User name” as shown. Then click OK.

Now the profile has been created. You’ll only need to click “Profiles”-> “Finance”hereafter in order to start a session. The files can be dragged to/from the finance server or transferred by clicking upload/download under the “Operation” menu.

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Step 5: Run programs using SSH orPuTTY.

Note: If you wish to run programs in windowing environment, always start Xming first.

Start SSH Secure Shell Client, and create a profile for finance server following the same procedures as in Step 3. If you wish to use Xming successfully, make sure to do the following when you edit the profile: click on the “Tunneling” tab and check “Tunnel X11 connections”. Click OK.

Now you can click“Profiles”->”Finance”, enter password and start a session.

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With the knowledge of the setups above, you should be able to set up PuTTY by yourself now.

As in WinSCP, create a saved profile first by entering “Host Name” and a name for the “Saved Sessions” (e.g. Finance), and clicking “Save”. “Finance” should appear below “Default Settings” in the Saved Sessions box.

Expand “SSH” on the left panel and click “X11”.

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Put a check mark in front of “Enable X11 forwarding”. Then click “Open”. In the future, you don’t have to do this step again for saved sessions.

Once a session is opened, you can run programs interactively, non-interactively, or in windowing environment using X-server (e.g. Xming).

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How to run SAS?

  • Interactive line mode:

    Type sas –nodms or sas –nodmsexp to start an interactive line mode session.

    After the session is invoked, the 1? prompt appears and you can start typing SAS statements.

    After all the statements are executed, you can end the session by entering endsas; statement or by pressing CTRL+D to go back to UNIX.

  • Noninteractive Mode:

    Suppose you have SAS statements saved in program.sas in directory home/myprogram. You’ll need to change directory to myprogram:

    cd ./myprogram

    Then you can run the program by typing:

    sas program.sas


    sas program.sas& (run on background)

    After the program is done, a message will be displayed on the screen, and the .log and .lst file will be stored in the default directory. You can check errors and outputs by opening these two files.

  • SAS Windowing Environment:

    Just make sure that Xming is started before you start an SSH session and the X11 tunneling is checked. This mode is normally slow. Not recommended.

    Detailed Information can be accessed via the following link: http://support.sas.com/documentation/cdl/en/hostunx/61879/HTML/default/usas.htm

How to run Matlab

The first thing to do is to change directory to where the programs are:

cd ./mymatlabprogram

To display messages and outputs to the terminal, type

Matlab <matlabprog.m

To run Matlab in the non-interactive mode and suppress all displays into a file type:

matlab <matlab prog.m>myout.out


matlab <matlab prog.m > output.out & (run on background)

myout.out is a file saving all the displays. It can be opened with a text editor such as notepad, word and emacs. Windowing Environment can be realized for Matlab too using Xming.

How to run STATA

Suppose you save STATA command file as mystata.do. To run STATA in the batch mode, type

stata –b do mystata

This command tells STATA to execute all commands in mystata.do file and suppress all outputs to a file named mystata.log.

If you want to use STATA interactively, simply type stata.

Once you’re done with STATA, type exit or exit, clear.

Windowing Environment is possible using Xming.

Detailed Information on using STATA in UNIX from the following link: www.stanford.edu/group/ssds/cgi-bin/drupal/files/Guides/software_docs_stata_unix.pdf

Other Resources or Information:


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