The ICTS High Performance Cluster uses SLURM to schedule jobs. There is one head node (hal.uct.ac.za) that users connect to in order to submit jobs. The /home partition on the head node is NFS mounted (i.e. common) to all worker nodes, regardless of series. Resources are assigned to partitions which can be thought of as queues.
|Partition||Description||Nodes||max cores / user||Time limit||Priority|
|ada||Standard partition||100-126||80||72 hours||20|
|swan||Large core partition||100-107||160||24 hours||30|
|lise||Long term partition||120-123||20||120 hours||10|
|curie||Long term partition||600-617||64||336 hours||20|
|test||Test partition||16||2 hours||20|
|testl||Test long partition||16||2 hours||10|
Users are assigned to an account which is analogous to a group, normally their department or research group, for instance maths, compsci etc. This account is subordinate to a faculty account, Health, Science etc. A user may also be assigned to additional accounts. Resources such as MaxCPUs, CPUHours etc are assigned to accounts. These resources may override a higher account setting. Aggregate settings may also limit the number of resources that all members of lower level accounts may request. For example a user in the maths department may have access to 100 cores, even though the MaxCPUs for the Science faculty is 75 CPUs. However the aggregate Science faculty GrpCPUs limit may be 1000 which could still limit this user if lots of Science faculty users are running jobs. Additionally this user may also be part of a research group called cosmo that has contributed resources to the cluster; here the user is added to the cosmo account which gives the user access to 200 cores as long as the user specifies the cosmo account in their job submission. Accounts may also be limited to specific partitions, hence the user may submit to the maths group on partition uctlong, but may only submit to the cosmo account on partition cosmology.
Time format in SLURM:
Before starting it is important to understand the format of the time parameter to avoid ambiguity and confusion. Acceptable time formats include “minutes”, “minutes:seconds”, “hours:minutes:seconds”, “days-hours”, “days-hours:minutes” and “days-hours:minutes:seconds”. This option applies to job and step allocations. Jobs on the Hal cluster won’t run unless a wall time is explicitly specified. We force you to enter a wall time for a job rather than rely on a default time because we want you to think carefully about the wall time limit for your jobs. This is your responsibility.
Some examples: 50 = 50 minutes 50:00 = 50 minutes 50:00:00 = 50 hours 2-2 = 50 hours (2 days and 2 hours) 2-2:00 = 50 hours (2 days and 2 hours) 2-2:00:00 = 50 hours (2 days and 2 hours)
Create a shell script with parameters similar to the one below:
#!/bin/sh #SBATCH --account maths #SBATCH --partition=uctlong #SBATCH --time=1000:00 #SBATCH --nodes=2 --ntasks=3 #SBATCH --mem-per-cpu=2000 #SBATCH --job-name="My Maths Job" #SBATCH --mail-user=MyEmail@uct.ac.za #SBATCH --mail-type=ALL /opt/exp_soft/softwareX/xyz -o /home/fred/testA15/myfile.txt
The directives –nodes is the number of worker nodes or servers required and –ntasks is the total number of cores per job. If you specify nodes > 1 then at least one thread will be assigned to each of the additional servers. You do not need to cd to the directory from which the job is launched. If you wish to run more than one job at a time in the same folder you must ensure that each job’s output is directed to a different file, otherwise data files will conflict or overwrite one another. In the above example the second job’s output should be directed to myfile2.txt.
While the job runs on the worker node standard output and standard error (the screen output you’d see if you ran on a desktop) is written to a .out file. If the screen output of your software fills up the disk your job will fail. It is best to ensure that your job output is directed to a file in /home or /scratch, possibly with a command line argument or the linux redirect > function. In addition it is recommended that you disable all spurious or unnecessary program output to minimize on disk space usage, particularly for long job runs.
Like the CPU cores memory is a limited resource. The –mem-per-cpu directive allows you to specify how much RAM is needed. The scheduler will attempt to increase the –ntask value (the number of cores) in accordance with this directive where possible to try and maintain the RAM/core ratio.
Parallel jobs write to one file system regardless of which worker node they start on. However this does mean that each job a user submits is required to start in a unique folder if the software that the job runs is not capable of specifying unique data files.
As an example, user fred has a home directory /home/fred/ on the head node, and this directory is also mounted on each worker node. This means that if fred created /home/fred/myfile.txt on the head node, this file is also immediately present on each worker node. Fred now submits a job. The job initially lands on node602. OpenMPI now also starts parallel versions of this job on nodes 601 and 603 for example. Each of the three nodes writes data to /home/fred/myfile.txt
If fred now submits another job and the software that fred is using cannot distinguish between concurrently running versions then data written to /home/fred/myfile.txt will be intermingled andor corrupted. Hence it is critical that non-concurrent capable software be launched from unique directories. If fred wants to run 3 concurrent jobs then the following need to be created: /home/fred/job1, /home/fred/job2 and /home/fred/job3. The shell script that controls the job must have a change directory command in it in order to select the correct directory.
The cluster uses OpenMPI to control parallel jobs. To launch a parallel aware program one generally uses mpirun, however as SLURM is tightly coupled with OpenMPI there are some distinctions to launching mpirun jobs manually; one does not need to specify a hostfile\machinefile nor does one need to specify the number of threads. Also be aware that unlike Torque\PBS there is no symmetrical geometry, if you request 2 nodes and 4 cores then SLURM will do the bare minimum to satisfy your request by running 3 threads on one node and 1 thread on the second. To retain symmetry use mincpus=X or ntasks-per-node=X where X is the number of threads per node you wish to use. It is critical that the shell script specifies how many servers (nodes) and CPUs will be reserved. This will inhibit other user’s jobs from trying to run on the same cores which would cause contention, slowing down both jobs. Use the #SBATCH directives to specify the nodes and cores.
#!/bin/sh #SBATCH --account maths #SBATCH --partition=uctlong #SBATCH --time=1000:00 #SBATCH --nodes=2 --ntasks=8 --ntasks-per-node=4 #SBATCH --mem-per-cpu=2000 #SBATCH --job-name="My Maths Job" #SBATCH --mail-user=MyEmail@uct.ac.za #SBATCH --mail-type=ALL mpirun /home/fred/mympiprog
This shell script tells SLURM that 2 nodes and a total of exactly 4 CPUs on each node should be reserved. Note that if –ntasks-per-node was not specified then on 8 core nodes the first node would have used 7 cores and the second node would have used 1 core. Unless specified the scheduler will not distribute the threads symmetrically. Mpirun is coupled to the scheduler and it is not necessary to specify a host file.
The salloc command is used to interactively allocate a SLURM job allocation. When salloc successfully obtains the requested allocation, it then runs the command specified by the user. Finally, when the user specified command is complete, salloc relinquishes the job allocation. Entering the following at the head node returns a confirmation and prompt once resources are available:
salloc --account maths --partition=ucthimem --time=1000:00 --nodes=1 --ntasks=1 salloc: Granted job allocation 2060 bob@srvcnthpc501:~$>
srvcnthpc500 ~$ srun cat /etc/hostname srvcnthpc406.uct.ac.za
Typing exit relinquishes the resources and ends the job.
bob@srvcnthpc501:~$ exit exit salloc: Relinquishing job allocation 2060 salloc: Job allocation 2060 has been revoked. bob@srvcnthpc501:~$
It is possible to launch a cluster job directly from the command line (or a script).
srun -A maths --partition=uctlong --time=1000:00 --nodes=1 --ntasks=1 /home/fred/myprog -o /home/fred/out.txt
Use srun to launch bash, the command line interpreter:
srun --pty --time=50:00:00 bash -l
Your prompt changes to that of a worker node and now any command you type is executed on that node. The commands do not need to be prefaced with the srun command. Type exit to end the job.
Type squeue to see a list of running jobs
andy@srvcnthpc501:~$ squeue JOBID PARTITION NAME USER ST TIME NODES NODELIST(REASON) 2143 uctlong MyBatchJob andy S 0:00 1 (resources) 2144 ucthimem MPImemjobA fred R 2:25:02 2 hpc406,407 2150 ucthimem MPImemjobB fred R 1:15:27 2 hpc408,409
Here user andy wants to see why his job has stopped running, it’s most likely that user fred is consuming all the available resources. Note that the partition names are different, in SLURM servers can belong to multiple partitions and in this case it’s likely that andy’s job is now suspended because fred has access to a partition with higher priority.
To cancel a job type scancel