What is a Job?

Submitting and managing jobs is at the heart of using the cluster. A ‘job’ refers to the script, pipeline or experiment that you run on the nodes in the cluster.


In the past we used queues under the old Torque system, we now refer to these logically grouped nodes as partitions. There are several different partitions available for cluster users to send jobs to:

  • batch
    • Nodes: c01-c48
    • Cores: AMD, 256 per user
    • RAM: 1 GB default
    • Time (walltime): 168 hours (7 days) default
  • highmem
    • Nodes: h01-h04
    • Cores: Intel, 32 per user
    • RAM: 100 GB min and 1024 GB max
    • Time (walltime): 48 hours (2 days) default
  • gpu
    • Nodes: gpu01-gpu02
    • Cores: Intel, 16 per user
    • RAM: 128 GB default
    • Time (walltime): 100 hours default
  • intel
    • Default partition
    • Nodes: i01-02,i17-i40
    • Cores: Intel, 256 per user
    • RAM: 1 GB default
    • Time (walltime): 168 hours (7 days) default
  • short
    • Nodes: i01-i40
    • Cores: Intel, 256 per user
    • RAM: 1 GB default
    • Time (walltime): 2 hours Maximum
  • Group Partition
    • This partition is unique to the group, if your lab has purchased nodes then you will have a priority partition with the same name as your group (ie. girkelab). In order to submit a job to different partitions add the optional ‘-p’ parameter with the name of the partition you want to use:
sbatch -p batch SBATCH_SCRIPT.sh
sbatch -p highmem SBATCH_SCRIPT.sh
sbatch -p gpu SBATCH_SCRIPT.sh
sbatch -p intel SBATCH_SCRIPT.sh
sbatch -p mygroup SBATCH_SCRIPT.sh


Slurm is now our default queuing system across all head nodes. SSH directly into the cluster and your connection will be automatically load balanced to a head node:

ssh -XY biocluster.ucr.edu

Resources and Limits

To see your limits you can do the following:

sacctmgr show account $GROUP format=Account,User,Partition,GrpCPUs,GrpMem,GrpNodes --ass | grep $USER

In order to view your group limits, execute the following:

sacctmgr show account $GROUP format=Account,User,Partition,GrpCPUs,GrpMem,GrpNodes,GrpTRES%30 --ass | head -3

Check total number of cores used by your group in the all partitions:

echo $(squeue -A $GROUP -o '%C' -t Running | grep -P '^[0-9]' | tr '\n' '+' | sed 's/+$//g') | bc

However this does not tell you when your job will start, since it depends on the duration of each job. The best way to do this is with the “–start” flag on the squeue command:

squeue --start -u $USER

Submitting Jobs

There are 2 basic ways to submit jobs; non-interactive, interactive. Slurm will automatically start within the directory where you submitted the job from, so keep that in mind when you use relative file paths. Non-interactive submission of a SBATCH script:


Here is an example of an SBATCH script:

#!/bin/bash -l

#SBATCH --nodes=1
#SBATCH --ntasks=10
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=1
#SBATCH --mem-per-cpu=1G
#SBATCH --time=1-00:15:00     # 1 day and 15 minutes
#SBATCH --output=my.stdout
#SBATCH --mail-user=useremail@address.com
#SBATCH --mail-type=ALL
#SBATCH --job-name="just_a_test"
#SBATCH -p intel # This is the default partition, you can use any of the following; intel, batch, highmem, gpu

# Print current date

# Load samtools
module load samtools

# Change directory to where you submitted the job from, so that relative paths resolve properly

# Concatenate BAMs
samtools cat -h header.sam -o out.bam in1.bam in2.bam

# Print name of node

The above job will request 1 node, 10 task (1 cpu core per task), 10GB of memory (1GB per task), for 1 day and 15 minutes. All STDOUT will be redirected to a file called “my.stdout” as well as an email sent to the user when the status of the job changes.

Interactive submission:

srun --pty bash -l

If you do not specify a partition then the intel partition is used by default.

Here is a more complete example:

srun --x11 --mem=1gb --cpus-per-task 1 --ntasks 1 --time 10:00:00 --pty bash -l

The above example enables X11 forwarding and requests, 1GB of memory, 1 cores, for 10 hours within an interactive session.

Monitoring Jobs

To check on your jobs states, run the following:

squeue -u username

To list all the details of a specific job, run the following:

scontrol show job <JOBID>

Canceling Jobs

In cancel/stop your job run the following:

scancel <JOBID>

You can also cancel multiple jobs:

scancel <JOBID1> <JOBID2> <JOBID3>

If you want to cancel/stop/kill ALL your jobs it is possible with the following:

# Be very careful when running this, it will kill all your jobs.
squeue --user $USER --noheader --format '%i' | xargs scancel

For more information please refer to Slurm scancel documentation.

Advanced Jobs

There is a third way of submitting jobs by using steps. Single Step submission:

srun <command>

Under a single step job your command will hang until appropriate resources are found and when the step command is finished the results will be sent back on STDOUT. This may take some time depending on the job load of the cluster. Multi Step submission:

salloc -N 4 bash -l
srun <command>
srun <command>

Under a multi step job the salloc command will request resources and then your parent shell will be running on the head node. This means that all commands will be executed on the head node unless preceeded by the srun command. You will also need to exit this shell in order to terminate your job.

Highmem Jobs

The highmem partition does not have a default amount of memory set, however it does has a minimum limit of 100GB per job. This means that you need to explicity request at least 100GB or more of memory.


sbatch -p highmem --mem=100g --time=24:00:00 SBATCH_SCRIPT.sh


srun -p highmem --mem=100g --time=24:00:00 --pty bash -l

Of course you should adjust the time argument according to your job requirements.

GPU Jobs

A single GPU job will no longer reserve an entire node. For each node there are 4-8 GPUs. This means that you need to request how many GPUs that you would like to use.


sbatch -p gpu --gres=gpu:1 --mem=100g --time=1:00:00 SBATCH_SCRIPT.sh


srun -p gpu --gres=gpu:4 --mem=100g --time=1:00:00 --pty bash -l

Of course you should adjust the time argument according to your job requirements.

Once your job starts your code must reference the environment variable “CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES” which will indicate which GPUs have been assigned to your job. Most CUDA enabled software, like MegaHIT, will check this environment variable and automatically limit accordingly.

For example, when reserving 4 GPUs for a NAMD2 job:

namd2 +idlepoll +devices $CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES MD1.namd

Each group is limited to a maximum of 8 GPUs on the gpu partition. Please be respectful of others and keep in mind that the GPU nodes are a limited shared resource. Since the CUDA libraries will only run with GPU hardward, development and compiling of code must be done within a job session on a GPU node.

Here are a few more examples of jobs that utilize more complex features (ie. array, dependency, MPI etc): Slurm Examples

Parallelization Software

MPI Introduction

MPI stands for the Message Passing Interface. MPI is a standardized API typically used for parallel and/or distributed computing. The HPCC cluster has a custom compiled versions of MPI that allows users to run MPI jobs across multiple nodes. These types of jobs have the ability to take advantage of hundreds of CPU cores symultaniously, thus improving compute time.

Many implementations of MPI exists, however we only support the following:

For general information on MPI under Slurm look here. If you need to compile an MPI application then please email support@biocluster.ucr.edu for assistance.

NAMD Example

To run a NAMD2 process as an OpenMPI job on Biocluster:

  1. Log-in to the cluster
  2. Create SBATCH script

    #!/bin/bash -l
    #SBATCH -J c3d_cr2_md
    #SBATCH -p batch
    #SBATCH -n 32
    #SBATCH --mem=16gb
    #SBATCH --time=01:00:00
    # Load needed modules
    # You could also load frequently used modules from within your ~/.bashrc
    module load slurm # Should already be loaded
    module load openmpi # Should already be loaded
    module load namd
    # Run job utilizing all requested processors
    # Please visit the namd site for usage details: http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/namd/
    mpirun --mca btl ^tcp namd2 run.conf &> run_bio.log
  3. Submit SBATCH script to Slurm queuing system

    sbatch run_bio.sh

Maker Example

OpenMPI does not function properly with Maker, you must use MPICH. Our version of MPICH does not use the mpirun/mpiexec wrappers, instead use srun:

module unload openmpi
module unload perl
module load maker
srun --time=5:00:00 --mem=50gb --ntasks=2 maker # Of course you will need to define appropriate job resources here