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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

Quest Analytics Nodes

The Quest Analytics Nodes allow users to run Python (via Jupyter notebooks), RStudio, and SAS Studio in their web browser, backed by Quest file systems and nodes with more computational resources than available on a personal computer. They are available to all Quest users with an active allocation.


To use the Analytics Nodes, you must be on the Northwestern network; off-campus users must use VPN to connect.

Users with an active Quest allocation can connect using any web browser.  Go to:

Log in with your NetID and password.

Usage Guidelines

The Quest Analytics Nodes are suitable for small and moderately sized interactive jobs only. Users running computationally intensive analyses may have their sessions cancelled or be asked to convert their work to run as a scheduled job on Quest. Users who generate exceptionally large temporary files may be contacted to alter their workflow. Sessions generally time out after one hour of inactivity.

SAS Studio sessions are limited to 4GB of RAM (memory) per user. Jupyter and RStudio users are asked to be aware of memory use when analyzing large data sets. Users utilizing a large amount of memory, especially those using over 60GB of RAM, may be asked to move their analysis to other systems. Researchers requiring high memory limits for analysis should contact to discuss options.

Users of the Quest Analytics Nodes are subject to the same guidelines and restrictions as all other users of Quest. Note in particular that Quest is not approved for storage or analysis of restricted data, and it may not be used for commercial purposes.


Users must have an active Quest Allocation. Researchers with a Research I, Research II, or full access allocation have access to the Quest Analytics Nodes. Students looking to use the Analytics Nodes for coursework must have their instructor apply for a Workshop and Classroom Allocation for the class. Individual Quest allocations are only approved for research use.

Help and More Information

Information on navigating the Quest file system from within RStudio or SAS Studio, transferring files, installing R packages, ending sessions, and other topics can be found in the Northwestern IT Knowledge Base:

Technical Details

Information about the packages available in the default environment for Jupyter can be found here:  Analytics Node Default Environment. However, users can create their own conda environments with different Python versions or libraries installed (see the Knowledge Base page above) and use them within Jupyterhub.

The RStudio Server version is 2023.06 and runs with R version 4.2.3.  The Quest Analytics Nodes run the free, Open Source Edition of RStudio server, which does not allow users to individually select their version of R from within RStudio or run multiple R sessions simultaneously.

SAS is version 9.4. Packages are restricted to those available in the Education Analytical Suite.

The Quest Analytics Nodes is comprised of three nodes, each with 52 CPU cores and 1500GB of RAM. When you connect to the links above, you are automatically directed to one of the three nodes. All nodes use the same Quest file system, so your files, packages, and settings are available from all nodes. Users cannot directly connect to a specific node. If you refresh the page or lose connection to the server, you may be reconnected to a different node and lose access to your previous session.