D-PHYS chat & collaboration

In order to facilitate secure real-time communication within D-PHYS and with the outside world, we provide a chat platform based on the Riot messenger and the Matrix protocol. The service can be used from any modern web browser, mobile apps and a standalone desktop application. The messenger is based around 'rooms' and private chats.


Quick start instructions:

  • Point your browser to https://riot.phys.ethz.ch
  • Log in using: @username:phys.ethz.ch
  • Where username is your D-PHYS account
  • Use your D-PHYS password

See How to connect with Riot (Web, Desktop, App) for detailed instructions with pictures, browser requirements and alternative methods to connect.


Matrix is an open source project that publishes the Matrix open standard for secure, decentralized, real-time communication. We host a Synapse Matrix Homeserver for the domain phys.ethz.ch.

Documentation (sub-pages)

The documention for Matrix/Riot is split into several pages. Please read on in the following order to get started:

Join our public rooms

Please join the rooms below to get updates from ISG:

Feel free to discuss, get more help or just say hello in:

Please note

  • due to the rather sudden home office situation we worked very hard to get the messenger ready ASAP. This means that a) we did not perform as much testing as we usually would have and b) not all features will be available from the beginning. Please let us know if you see something that doesn't work as it should.
  • riot is not a file server! While you can upload and share files, please do so with reason. Use it to share a PDF or graph with your colleagues, but do not send research data - that's what our group shares are for. If data volume sent around in riot gets out of hand, we will be forced to set a cap and/or delete old files.
  • since we (ISG) use riot for our internal communication, it's also an excellent tool to get in touch with us. Come visit us in the ISG D-PHYS Helpdesk room!
  • if you want to use riot for more than just chatting with individual people and plan to deploy it for your research group, please read below about rooms and communities.
  • right now you can chat to everyone having a D-PHYS account, but we're already working on setting up federation which will connect our matrix server to others (D-ITET and D-INFK for example).

Stable features

Riot offers an extremely wide range of features, only some of which we've so far had the chance to test or integrate.

The following list of features is currently implemented on the D-PHYS server and is considered to be stable:

  • Basic chat functionality (instant messaging)
  • Media uploads
  • Search user directory (username, display name, email, phone number)
  • End-to-end encryption and cross-signing (instructions)

Experimental features

These currently implemented features are either untested or known to be buggy (not recommended for general use):

  • Direct (1:1) voice/video calls (basically works, but can still be buggy)
  • Group web-conferencing using Jitsi (rooms with more than 2 members)
  • Screen sharing (e.g. for helpdesk)
  • Communities (Known to lack features and can still be buggy)
  • Federation with "the internet" and other ETH homeservers
  • Shared whiteboard integration (widget)

Disabled or broken features

Some features are not possible on our setup, known to be broken or completely untested by ISG. While we would prefer to correctly hide or disable it in the interface, this is not always possible. Please do not try to:

  • Reset passwords (please use account.phys.ethz.ch)
  • Register a Matrix account (disabled)
  • Deactivate your Matrix account (this is irreversible, but should be disabled)
  • Add email or phone numbers to your profile (you should already be discoverable via LDAP)
  • Invite users via email (but you may very well search by email)


List of features we will be working on next (probably in this order):

  • Basic bots (such as shown here)
  • Integrations (collaborative document editing and other widgets)
  • Slack bridge (or puppeting bridge)
  • Slack compatible Webhooks


Things we have on the radar and will be looking into:

  • Check possibility to import slack history
  • How to handle external users (non D-PHYS users you would like to join)
  • How to handle communities and associated rooms (check possibility for automated invites based on some DB)
  • More bots
  • Bridges to connect to other messaging platforms (like IRC, email)
  • Native LateX support: should be coming in a future release
  • Markdown tables in riot