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Modules Environment

Software modules allow you to control which software and versions are available in your environment. Modules contain the necessary information to allow you to run a particular application or provide you access to a particular library so that

  • different versions of a software package can be provided
  • you can easily switch to different versions without having to explicitly specify different paths
  • you don't have to deal with dependent modules, they are loaded at the same time as the software

The module command

Modules are managed by the module command:

module <sub-command> <module-name>

where the sub-command indicates the operation you want to perform. The sub-command is followed by the name of the module on which you want to perform the operation.

Sub-command Description
list List the currently modules loaded
avail List available modules
load Load a module
remove Remove a module from your environment
purge Unload all modules from your environment
help Print the help message of a module
show Show the commands in the module's definition file

Listing available modules

To list the modules currently active in your environment, use the command:

$ module list
Currently Loaded Modulefiles:
  1) cce/11.0.4                                  5) craype-network-ofi
  2) craype/2.7.7                                6) perftools-base/21.05.0
  3) craype-x86-rome                             7) xpmem/2.2.40-
  4) libfabric/                       8) PrgEnv-cray/8.0.0

In order to list the available modules, you can use the command

$ module avail

------------------------------------ /opt/cray/pe/perftools/21.05.0/modulefiles ------------------------------------
perftools             perftools-lite-events perftools-lite-hbm    perftools-preload
perftools-lite        perftools-lite-gpu    perftools-lite-loops

--------------------------------------------- /opt/cray/pe/modulefiles ---------------------------------------------
PrgEnv-aocc/8.0.0(default)                cray-netcdf/
PrgEnv-aocc/8.1.0                         cray-netcdf/
PrgEnv-cray/8.0.0(default)                cray-netcdf-hdf5parallel/
PrgEnv-cray/8.1.0                         cray-netcdf-hdf5parallel/
PrgEnv-gnu/8.0.0(default)                 cray-openshmemx/11.2.1(default)
PrgEnv-gnu/8.1.0                          cray-openshmemx/11.3.2
... (+ many more modules)

This will list all the names and versions of the modules available. Modules are identified by name and version as follows: name/version. You may observe that for some modules we have more than one version, each of which is identified by a version number. All the modules of a particular name can be listed by adding a name as argument of the module avail command.

$ module avail PrgEnv-gnu

--------------------------------------------- /opt/cray/pe/modulefiles ---------------------------------------------
PrgEnv-gnu/8.0.0(default) PrgEnv-gnu/8.1.0

One of these modules is identified with a (D) or (default). This is the default module, which will be loaded (with module load <full-name>) if no version is specified.

Loading and removing modules

To load a module use the module load command. For example, to load the Cray FFTW library, use:

$ module load cray-fftw

This command will load the default version of the module. If the software you loaded has dependencies, they will be loaded in your environment at the same time.

To load a specific version of the module you need to specify it after the name of the module.

$ module load cray-fftw/

In order to unload a module from your environment, use the unload sub-command followed by the name of the module you want to remove.

$ module remove cray-fftw

You can also remove all loaded modules from your environment by using the purge sub-command.

$ module purge

Get information about the module

Information about a module such as its description, usage and links to the documentation of the software package can be obtained using the help sub-command.

$ module help cray-fftw
----------- Module Specific Help for 'cray-fftw/' ---------

  Release Date:
    May 2021

    This Cray FFTW release is supported on Cray EX (formerly
    Shasta) systems. FFTW is supported on the host CPU but not on the
    accelerator of Cray systems.

    The Cray FFTW release provides the following:
      - Optimizations for AMD Milan CPUs
    See the Product and OS Dependencies section for details.

On the other hand, if you are more interested in what is actually defined by the module, you can inspect the content of the module file using the show sub-command.

$ module show cray-fftw

conflict     cray-fftw 
conflict     fftw 
setenv       FFTW_VERSION 
setenv       CRAY_FFTW_VERSION 
setenv       CRAY_FFTW_PREFIX /opt/cray/pe/fftw/ 
setenv       FFTW_ROOT /opt/cray/pe/fftw/ 
setenv       FFTW_DIR /opt/cray/pe/fftw/ 
setenv       FFTW_INC /opt/cray/pe/fftw/ 
prepend-path     PATH /opt/cray/pe/fftw/ 

The environment variables defines are sometimes useful when building software. For example, you could pass -I$(FFTW_INC) to the compiler to add the header files for the FFTW library.

Saving your environment

Sometimes, if you frequently use multiple modules together, it might be useful to save your environment as a module collection. A collection can be created using save sub-command.

module save <collection-name>

Your saved collections can be listed using the savelist sub-command.

module savelist

But, of course, the main interest of a collection is that you can load all the modules it contains in one command. This is done using the restore sub-command.

module restore <collection-name>

Create and use your own modules