Collaborative Calculation in the Cloud

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Online computing environment

Intro to CoCalc by Mark Quinn (University of Sheffield)

CoCalc is a sophisticated online workspace

Collaborative Environment

  • Share your files privately with project collaborators — all files are synchronized in real-time.
  • Time-travel is a detailed history of all your edits and everything is backed up in consistent snapshots.
  • Finally, you can select any document to publish it online.

Zero Setup: getting started does not require any software setup.

  1. First, create your personal account.
  2. Then, create a project to instantiate your own private workspace.
  3. Finally, create a worksheet or upload your own files: CoCalc supports online editing of Jupyter Notebooks, Sage Worksheets, LaTeX files, R documents etc.

CoCalc talk by William Stein (Harvard, 2018)

Presentation outline

  • Background and history of CoCalc
  • Demonstration of functionality
  • Architectural overview, underlying tech stack, ...
  • Synchronization of documents, the backbone of collaboration
  • Collaboration and chat
  • Culture, open-source, academic and commercial usage

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A new project runs under a free plan (unlimited trial) has a quota of 1.0 GB memory and 3.0 GB of disk space. Purchasing a subscription and upgrading your projects makes hosting more robust and increases its quotas.

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Explore CoCalc


Your work on CoCalc happens inside private projects. They form your personal workspaces containing your files, computational worksheets, and data. You run your computations through the web interface, via interactive worksheets and notebooks, or by executing a program in a terminal.


You can invite collaborators to work with you inside a project. Like you, they can edit the files in that project. Edits are visible in real time for everyone online. You can share your thoughts in a side chat next to each document.


CoCalc offers sophisticated tools for teaching. Start by creating a course, add your students, create assignments and distribute them to all students. While students work on it, you can assist them by jumping right into their files where they're working. Later, collect, grade and re-distribute the files.
Courses using CoCalc


Write scientific documents online in a LaTeX editor. It offers a full LaTeX setup, has a side-by-side preview with forward and inverse search, also supports advanced features like SageTeX, PythonTeX and R's Knitr.

Teaching made easy

Have you experienced the pain of setting up the software environments for your students? With CoCalc no software needs to be setup and you can finally focus on your students!

  1. Create a course file on CoCalc
  2. Add your students
  3. Distribute assignments and handouts
  4. Jump into a student's files right where they are working
  5. Collect and grade assignments

Combined with CoCalc's other unique features you can check, guide and retrace all steps a student takes.

  • Use TimeTravel to see each step a student took to get to the solution.
  • Consistent and immutable Backups make losing files impossible.
  • Integrated Chat allows your to guide students directly where they work or discuss collected files with your teaching assistents.
  • The project's Activity Log records exactly when a file is accessed and by which user.

More information


I just found out that my CoCalc class got by far the best course evaluations for any course I've taught at UCSD to date (over 85% on the favorable/­unfavorable scale), which makes it a sure thing that I'll be teaching this course again (in some form) next year! Many thanks for the backend work on CoCalc, for the course materials, for the guest lecture...

Kiran Kedlaya — UC San Diego, March 2017

CoCalc provides a user-friendly interface. Students don't need to install any software at all. They just open up a web browser and go to and that's it. They just type code directly in, hit shift+enter and it runs, and they can see if it works. It provides immediate feedback. The course management features work really well.

Unique Features


All your changes are recorded in fine detail. You can go back and forth in time across hundreds of changes to recover your previous edits.

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Every couple of minutes, all files are saved in consistent read-only snapshots. This means you can always recover older versions of your files in case they got corrupted or accidentally deleted.


A stand-alone chat and side-by-side chat for each file gives you the ability to discuss the content with your collegues. Collaborators who are not online will be notified about new messages the next time they sign in. Chat supports markdown formatting and Latex formulas.

Native Jupyter Notebooks

This is a fully compatible rewrite of the classical Jupyter Notebook. It is tightly integrated into CoCalc and adds real-time collaboration, time-travel history and much more.


LaTeX Editor

CoCalc includes a full LaTeX editor with side-by-side preview and forward/inverse search. This allows you to not only do computations online, but also create scientific documents for their dissemination.
Additionally, there is support for: SageTeX, PythonTeX and R's Knitr.


Conveniently edit Markdown .md or HTML documents with side-by-side live preview, showing LaTeX formulas and embedded graphics.
CoCalc also supports RMarkdown .Rmd files to include R and Python calculations and plots.

Batteries included

Out of the box hundreds of open-source tools are available for you. Here is a short list of a selected few:

SageMathopen-source mathematical software
R projectthe #1 open-source statistics software
Juliaprogramming language for numerical computing
GNU Octavescientific programming language, largely compatible with MATLAB
Tensorflowopen-source software library for machine intelligence
LaTeXhigh-quality typesetting program
GNU/Linuxoperating system and utility toolbox


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Start free, upgrade later

A new project runs under a free plan (unlimited trial) has a quota of 1.0 GB memory and 3.0 GB of disk space. Purchasing a subscription and upgrading your projects makes hosting more robust and increases its quotas.

or sign in with your account

Do you have any further questions or want to see how CoCalc helps you with teaching?