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Interactive Usage

Login nodes are not intendent for heavy computing if you want to do heavy computing interactively, you can request a Slurm interactive session.

Interactive jobs allow a user to interact with applications on the compute nodes. With an interactive job, you request time and resources to work on a compute node directly, which is different to a batch job where you submit your job to a queue for later execution.

You can use two commands to create an interactive session: srun and salloc. Both of these commands take options similar to sbatch.

Using salloc

Using salloc, you allocate resources and spawn a shell that is then used to execute parallel tasks launched with srun. For example, you can allocate 2 nodes for 30 minutes with the command

$ salloc --nodes=2 --account=<project> --time=00:30:00
salloc: Granted job allocation 123456
salloc: Waiting for resource configuration

Once the allocation is made, this command will start a shell on the login node. You can start parallel execution on the allocated nodes with srun.

srun --ntasks=32 --cpus-per-task=8 ./mpi_openmp_application

After the execution of your application ended, the allocation can be terminated by exiting the shell (exit).

When using salloc, a shell is spawn on the login node. If you want to obtain a shell on the first allocated compute node you can use srun --pty.

srun --cpu_bind=none --nodes=2 --pty bash -i

If you want to use an application with a GUI, you can use the --x11 flag with srun to enable X11 forwarding.

Using srun

For simple interactive session, you can use srun with no prior allocation. In this scenario, srun will first create a resource allocation in which to run the job. For example, to allocate 1 node for 30 minutes and spawn a shell

srun --account=<project> --time=00:30:00 --nodes=1 --pty bash

Using srun to check running jobs

Currently, ssh:ing to compute nodes is not allowed, but the srun command can be used to check in on a running job in the cluster. In this case, you need to give the job ID and possibly also the specific name of a compute node to srun.

This starts a shell, where you can run any command, on the first allocated node in a specific job:

srun --overlap --pty --jobid=<jobid> bash

To check processor and memory usage quickly, you can run top directly:

srun --overlap --pty --jobid=<jobid> top

The -w nid00XXXX option can be added to select a specific compute node to view:

srun --overlap --pty --jobid=<jobid> -w nid002217 top

You can see which compute nodes your job is allocated to by running the squeue command and looking in the "NODELIST" column.

If you want to do this on the Early Access Platform with GPUs, you need to give an extra flag: --gpus-per-task=0, otherwise your monitoring job will not run. For example, to run the rocm-smi command on an EAP node and check the GPU usage, do like this:

srun --gpus-per-task=0 --overlap --jobid=<jobid> --pty rocm-smi