Notebook environment for both interactive data analysis and batch data processing

Live SoS server

If you are curious on what SoS and SoS Notebook are, you can try it out by clicking this link. This will lead you to our live SoS server from which you can click New -> SoS and create a SoS Notebook with all supported languages except for two proprietary ones (MATLAB and SAS).

SoS Docker Images

If you are using docker, you can run SoS directly using command

% docker run -it vatlab/sos:latest /bin/bash

to enter a command prompt with sos command. More usefully, you can start a Jupyter server with R and IRkernel, Julia, Python, and SoS kernels, and many Python and R modules for data sciencists using command

% docker run -d -p 8888:8888 vatlab/sos-notebook

After the docker is running in the background, you will need to find the URL to access the server from the output of the previous command, which can be obtained with command docker logs with the output of the previous command, e.g.

% docker logs 8ada70223a073942b1dd6a6c882189a0b3fadf902b3ad87acbe37063a198d6b8
Execute the command: jupyter notebook
    Copy/paste this URL into your browser when you connect for the first time,
    to login with a token:

You can then enter the URL in the log message to a browser and start working with a complete SoS environment. You could also set up the docker image to disable password as discussed here but using a Jupyter server without password is strongly discouraged.

You can even use this docker image for your daily data analysis if you make your local directory available to the Jupyter server using command

% docker run -d -p 8888:8888 -v $HOME:/home/jovyan/work  vatlab/sos-notebook

This command mounts your home directory ($HOME) to directory work under the home directory of the docker machine but you can mount any local directory to the docker image. This container is hosted at our public Jupyter server from which you can open our sample notebooks and create your own notebooks without installing anything.

Note: If you get an error message stating Bind for failed: port is already allocated, your local port 8888 is already taken by some other processes and you can use options such as -p 9999:8888 to use another local port. Using a different port actually allows you to execute multiple instances of the docker image.

Local installation

SoS consists of two major parts, the SoS Workflow and SoS Notebook, each with a number of extension modules:

SoS Workflow Engine

  • sos: SoS workflow engine with its command line interface
  • sos-pbs: PBS task engine for Torch, Slurm, IBM LSF etc
  • sos-rq: rq task engine for SoS
  • sos-bioinfo: extension for bioinformatic applications

SoS Notebook

Conda installation

If you are using a conda environment, you can install sos, sos-notebook, and its language modules, and required interpreters all from a conda environment. For example, you can install SoS Workflow with command

conda install sos sos-pbs -c conda-forge

and SoS Notebook with command

conda install sos-notebook jupyterlab-sos sos-papermill -c conda-forge

Here jupyterlab-sos is JupyterLab extension for SoS Notebook, and sos-papermill is a Papermill extension for running SoS notebooks in command line.

You can install language modules with commands such as

conda install sos-r sos-python sos-bash -c conda-forge

Note that conda strives to provide complete environments for you so

conda install sos-r -c conda-forge

will install sos, sos-notebook, the language module sos-r, and a complete R environment including r-base and r-irkernel, and required python module feather-format and R library feather.


conda install sos-bash -c conda-forge

will install sos, sos-notebook, the language module sos-bash, bash if under Linux or MacOSX, and m2-bash if under windows.

If you would like to have the flexibility to use system R (or bash etc), you can install sos-notebook, its language modules and required libraries separately using pip.

Non-conda installation

SoS Workflow

SoS supports Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows systems and requires Python 3 (version 3.6 or later) so you will need to install Python 3 if you do not have it installed locally. We recommend anaconda Python because it is a complete Python environment with many packages for scientific computing.

If you only need to use the command line interface of the SoS Workflow System (e.g. to execute workflows on a remote server), you can install it with command

pip install sos

If you need to submit PBS (Slurm, PBS, LSF, etc) jobs to a cluster system, you will need to install the sos-pbs module, using command

pip install sos-pbs

If you are using vim, you can use command

python -m sos.install

to install a vim extension of sos to enable syntax highlighting when editing .sos files.

SoS Notebook

SoS Notebook can be used as both a polyglot notebook and an IDE for the SoS workflow system. It should be installed locally, or on a server to which you access remotely with a browser.

After making sure that you have Python 3.6+ installed, you can install sos-notebook and extension modules with commands such as

pip install sos-notebook
pip install sos-papermill
pip install sos-r

After the installation of sos-notebook, you will need to register the sos kernel to Jupyter using command

python -m sos_notebook.install

After verifying the sos and the kernels you would like to use are in the output of

jupyter kernelspec list

you can start a Jupyter server with commnad

jupyter notebook

and choose SoS as the kernel for a new notebook. Please refer to Notebook Interface of the SoS documentation for details.

Certain features of SoS Notebook require optional python modules. They are not required but recommended for a complete SoS environment. These modules include

  • graphviz, imageio, and pillow or PIL for the preview of dot files generated by the -d option of sos run.
  • pysam for the preview of bam and sam files.

SoS extension for Jupyter Lab

JupyterLab is the next-generation web-based user interface for Project Jupyter. To use SoS with JupyterLab, you will need to install SoS Notebook (the sos kernel) and all language modules and supporting libraries, then install the JupyterLab extension of SoS called jupyterlab-sos following instructions here. Basically, you can

  • install transient-display-data and jupyterlab-sos extensions from the JupyterLab extension manager
  • or from conda using command
    conda install jupyterlab-sos -c conda-forge
    if you are using a conda environment
  • or from command line using commands

    jupyter labextension install transient-display-data
    jupyter labextension install jupyterlab-sos

Supported Languages

To use a language in SoS, your system should have the corresponding interpreters (bash, python, julia) and Jupyter kernel (e.g. ir for R, ijavascript for JavaScript) installed. The installation process varies from language to language, and can be quite troublesome depending on language and operating system.

If you are using conda, commands such as conda install sos-r -c conda-forge will install all needed modules. Otherwise, you should

  1. Verify the availability of an interpreter by executing the interpreter from a command line (e.g. run julia to check if julia is installed.
  2. Install the jupyter kernel for the interpreter, and verify if the corresponding kernel is installed correctly by running
    jupyter kernelspec list
  3. Start Jupyter, create a notebook with the kernel and check if you can use the kernel correctly.
  4. Visit the language-specific sections below to install any required modules that are used for data exchange between SoS and the kernels.


bash is generally available under Linux and MacOSX so you only need to install the Bash Kernel or Calysto Bash kernel for Jupyter.

If you are using windows, you can install m2-bash or git-bash. Since the Bash Kernel does not support windows, Calysto Bash kernel would be the only choice for this system.


Although there appears to be several Jupyter Kernels, SoS is only tested with the iJavaScript kernel. To use this kernel, please follow iJavaScript kernel homepage to install iJavaScript kernel.


Start Julia and install iJulia by following iJulia Kernel homepage. After that, install feather.jl, DataFrames.jl and NamedArrays.jl with commands

using Pkg

Note that it is important to set

ENV["JUPYTER"] = "/path/to/jupyter"

in Julia before running


so that IJulia can be installed to the existing installation of Jupyter.

Finally on the SoS side, the Python feather-format module should be installed, most likely with command

conda install -c conda-forge feather-format

to facilitate the exchange of data frames, and please do not forget to install the Julia language module

pip install sos-julia


Because SoS requires Python 3.6 and only MATLAB version 2017b+ supports this version of Python, you will need to have a working version of MATLAB 2017b or later installed on your system. Then, you will need to install matlab engine for Python, which typically involves the execution of command python install under matlabroot\extern\engines\python.

Because of a bug with usage statistics collection in MATLAB 2017b, you will need to turn off MATLAB's usage statistics collection system before you use MATLAB 2017b with SoS. To resolve this issue, You can opt-out of usage statistics collection by using the following steps: On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences, then select MATLAB > General in the Preferences window. Uncheck the box Improve MATLAB by sending user experience information to MathWorks.

There are two different implementations of MATLAB kernels for Jupyter matlab_kernel and imatlab. Because of a bug with matlab_kernel, you should install the imatlab kernel by following instructions on the imatlab homepage.

Because MATLAB is among the most difficult languages to configure, we have recorded a video Using MATLAB with SoS Notebook with detailed instructions on how to configure SoS Notebook to work with MATLAB.


After installing octave, install the octave kernel by following instructions on the octave kernel homepage.

For transferring Python's DataFrame and its equivalences in other languages, you will need to install the dataframe package using the following command:

octave --eval 'pkg install -forge dataframe'

Python 2

If you still have Python 2.x installed on your system and would like to use it with SoS, you will need to

  • Place executable python2 or python2.7 in your $PATH and use action python2 for python2 scripts.
  • Install python2 kernel following directions here.

Python 3

Jupyter comes with working Python3 kernel so no further installation is needed.


To use R with SoS, you will need to install the following components:

  • IRKernel kernel for Jupyter.
  • R arrow library.
  • Python pyarrow module, which can be installed with command
     conda install -c conda-forge pyarrow

If you have a working R installation, you can install irkernel and arrow in R with commands


If you are using anaconda and do not have R installed, you can install R and required packages using commands

conda install -c r r-essentials r-arrow
conda install -c conda-forge pyarrow


To use Ruby with SoS, you will need to install iRuby by following iRuby Kernel homepage. After that, install daru and NMatrix with command:

gem install daru nmatrix


With a local or remote SAS installation of version 9.4 or higher, you will need to install sas-kernel and configure it to connect it to your SAS installation.


  1. You will need SAS version 9.4 or higher to use sas_kernel.
  2. The SAS Unversity Edition runs a jupyter server inside a Virtual Machine without ssh access. Although you can use this version to learn SAS and Jupyter, it is not possible to use it with SoS.

Note for Windows Users:

  1. Please follow the guideline for configuration. The integrated object method (IOM) connection method is the only option for Windows.
  2. The paths of classpath in ( might need to be updated manually.
  3. In (, please change SAS_config_names to a list only containing one option that you want to use. You cannot choose the SAS_config_names in sos_notebook. For example, if winlocal is your choice, then simply change the code to SAS_config_names = ['winlocal'].


You will need to install Stata and then the stata_kernel.


After installing npm, typescript, you should install the iTypeScript kernel.


zsh is generally available under Linux and MacOSX so you only need to install the zsh Kernel for Jupyter, and then the sos-bash language module, which supports both bash and zsh.


Remote access

One of the advantages of using a Jupyter notebook is the ability to access the notebook remotely. For example, you can start a Jupyter server from your office computer and connect to it from you home (as long as there is no firewall that blocks the assigned port).

The jupyter documentation provides detailed instructions on how to start a Jupyter notebook server that accepts external connection. Generally speaking, you should run command

>>> from notebook.auth import passwd
>>> passwd()

from a Python shell to get sha presentation of a password. Generate a new configuration file (~/.jupyter/ with command

jupyter notebook --generate-config

and modify it with lines such as

c.NotebookApp.ip = '*'
c.NotebookApp.password = u'sha1:...<your hashed password here>'
c.NotebookApp.open_browser = False
c.NotebookApp.port = 8888

Then, after you start your notebook server using command

jupyter notebook

You should be able to access it remotely with URL


virtualenv or pipenv

If you are using virtualenv or pipenv, you might need to remove the sos kernel installed globally with command

jupyter kernelspec remove sos
python -m sos_notebook.install

to install sos for the particular python interpreter of the virtual env.


Windows systems lack native support for some of the tools that SoS uses and it is generally more difficult to set up Jupyter kernels for different languages. We therefore do not recommend the use of SoS and SoS Notebook under windows for novice users.

The best way to use SoS under windows is to use a Linux subsystem. You could enable Linux subsystem for windows if you have a Windows 10 system with Developer Mode enabled, or use one of the Linux subsystems such as Cygwin, MinGW, or MSYS2. We generally recommend the use of MSYS2 because of its pacman package manage system.

To install MSYS2,

  • Install MSYS2 from MSYS2 homepage
  • Start MSYS2, run
    pacman -S openssh rsync git
  • Add c:\msys64\usr\bin (adapt to your installation) to environment variable $PATH so that commands rsync, rcp, ssh, and git are available to sos.

Note that

  • This configuration allows executing tasks generated from a windows localhost on remote Linux and Mac OSX hosts (task queues). Remote execution on a windows host is not yet supported.
  • Installation of git is optional especially if you already have git for windows installed (which is also based on msys2).
  • You might want to install ConEmu as a (much better) replacement for Windows command console.
  • You will need to set up $HOME properly to use ssh and public key authentication with other machines. This page provides a nice summary of the steps.