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SLURM is a cluster management and job scheduling system. This is the software we use in the CS clusters for resource management.

This page contains general instructions for all SLURM clusters in CS. Specific information per cluster is in the end.

To send jobs to a cluster, one must first connect to a submission node. For each cluster there's at least one submission node named <cluster>-gw, e.g.: phoenix-gw, hm-gw, etc.

Quick start

First login to a submission node. E.g. if you're working on the phoenix cluster:

 ssh phoenix-gw

Or, from outside the CS network:


Submit a script (myscript) that requires 4 cpus, 400M RAM and will run at most for 2 hours:

 sbatch --mem=400m -c4 --time=2:0:0 "myscript" 

Submit a binary executable (myexecutable), for maximum 3 days:

 sbatch --mem=400m -c4 --time=3-0 --wrap="myexecutable"

Submit a script that requires 2 gpus (on clusters that have gpus)

 sbatch --mem=500m -c2 --gres=gpu:2 "myscript" 

Run a shell interactively (might have limited resources):

 srun --mem=400m -c2 --time=1-12 --pty $SHELL

To run graphical programs one needs to connect to the gw using ssh (not rlogin or telnet) with X11 forwarding enabled. Then GUI program should work normally. E.g.:

 srun --mem=400m -c2 --time=2:0:0 xterm

Note: There are several limitation for GUI programs. Please see Graphical Commands for more details.

Submission Guidelines

Each job submission must declare how much resources it will require. Resources are RAM, CPUs, time, and GPUs. Requesting too few resources will cause the job to be either killed or have a considerable impact on the performance. Requesting too much resources, will cause the jobs' starting time to be delayed (can be for a few days), and the priority of all the user's jobs to be reduced.


There are different time limits on different clusters. Most clusters won't allow jobs longer than 7, 14 or 21 days. Some clusters have dedicated nodes for short jobs (usually up to 2 days).

Requesting the maximum allowed time (for no good reason) will cause the job's starting time to be delayed. This is due to the backfill[1] algorithm. Also, the priority is by fairshare use, so keeping a job alive without using the resources will reduce the priority of user and lab (and delay the jobs of other users). I.e. don't keep a shell running overnight.

Job management takes resources and time. I.e. each submission includes queuing, dispatching, running and finalizing the job. As such it is best to avoid very short jobs. If jobs are less than 5 minutes, it is best to combine several jobs in a single script and run them sequentially instead of separate them to different slurm jobs.


Each job must declare how many CPUs it will require. Due to hyper-threading (on nodes with hyper-threading enabled), this number needs to be even (it will be rounded up if odd).

The number of CPUs is forced, if the number of processes/threads exceeds the number of allocated CPUs they will share the allocated CPUs (even if other CPUs are available), causing performance reduction.

Requesting too many CPUs can cause a delay of the starting time (as it will wait for the resources to become available), and cause other jobs to wait for the occupied but unused CPUs.


Each job submission must declare how much RAM it will take.

Requesting too much RAM will cause a delay in the starting time of the job and other jobs.

Requesting too little will either cause the job to be killed or to use virtual memory (swap) instead. Swapping can cause severe performance degradation and it is best to avoid it.


GPU misuse has the same effect of CPU misuse. I.e. starting time and performance issues. It is important to make sure your jobs can use more than one GPU before requesting multiple GPUs per job.

As GPU are considered an expensive resource, it is important not to request too many GPUs without using them. If your job doesn't need a GPU, don't request one and it will be best to run on a cluster without GPUs.



Used to schedule a script to run as soon as resources are available.


sbatch [options] <script>


-c n Allocate n cpus (per task).
-t t Total run time limit (e.g. "2:0:0" for 2 hours, or "2-0" for 2 days and 0 hours).
--mem-per-cpu m Allocate m MB per cpu.
--mem m Allocate m MB per node (--mem and --mem-per-cpu are mutually exclusive)
--array=1‑k%p Run the script k times (from 1 to k). The array index of the current run is in the SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID environment variable accessible from within the script. The optional %p parameter will limit the jobs to run at most p simultaneous jobs (usually it's nicer to the other users).
--wrap cmd instead of giving a script to sbatch, run the command cmd.
-M cluster The cluster to run on. Can be comma separated list of clusters which will choose the earliest expected job initiation time.
-n n Allocate resources for n tasks. Default is 1. Only relevant for parallel jobs, e.g. with mpi.
--gres resource specify general resource to use. Currently only GPU is supported. e.g. gpu:2 for two GPUs. On clusters with several types of GPUs, a specific GPU can be requested by, e.g. 'gpu:m60:2' for 2 M60 GPUs.

More info in "man sbatch"


Shows the status of submitted jobs.


 squeue -M<cluster>

More info in "man squeue"


A shortcut for different format of squeue.




Cancels a job:


 scancel <job id>

More info in "man scancel"

hold and release

To hold a job from executing (e.g. to give another job a chance to run), run:

 scontrol hold <job id>

To release it:

 scontrol release <job id>


To run command interactively, use the srun command. This will block until there are resources available, and will redirect the input/output of the program to the executing shell. srun has most of the same parameters as sbatch.

If the input/output isn't working currectly (e.g. with shell jobs), usually adding the --pty flag solves the issue.

On some of the clusters interactive jobs have some limitation compared to normal batch jobs.


Used to view statistics about previous jobs.



Long format:

sacct -l

All users:

sacct -a

Since 1/1/2013

sacct -S 2013-01-01

Or any combination of the options.


A shortcut for different output format of sacct.




 ssacct --res


Show data about the cluster and the nodes

More info in "man sinfo"


Show detailed data about each node. Usage:



Show data about running jobs (e.g. memory, time, etc.)


Show general information about the available resources of the cluster (memory, GPUs...) and about the current usage of different users.

Batch Scripts

Using the sbatch command, a script is executed once the resources are available. The script must be a text file, i.e. most scripting languages are accepted (sh, bash, csh, python, perl, etc.), but not compiled binary files.

All parameters to sbatch can be incorporated into the script itself, simplifying the batch submission command. The paremeters inside the script files are passed by lines begining with '#SBATCH'. These lines must be after the first line (e.g. after the #!/bin/bash line) but before any real command.

This way, instead of:

sbatch --mem=400m -c4 --time=2:0:0 --gres=gpu:3

One can use the script:

#SBATCH --mem=400m
#SBATCH --time=2:0:0
#SBATCH --gres=gpu:3

some script lines

and submit using just:


All programs will be terminated once the batch script is terminated. So if executing a command in the background, it's usually helpful to finish the batch script with the 'wait' command (assuming bash).

Graphical Commands

For simple interactive session, srun --pty should suffice. Using graphical commands is not recommended as it creates additional failure points for the job. I.e. if the X connection is cut off (in the local machine or the submission node) the job will be killed. Moreover, programs that requires advance options such as OpenGL might not work properly (or at all).

Also, if the cluster is full, it might take time for the job to start, in which time the user cannot logout from the display (or the job will die on startup).

Nonetheless, if graphical display is required, the DISPLAY environment variable should be set appropriatly. The simplest method is by ssh'ing to the gw machine with display forwarding. This should set up everything.

Another method, is setting it manually:

  1. On the machine where the X server is running (where the window will be opened), before connecting to the gw, run:
    xauth list $HOST:0
    this will return a line similar to:  MIT-MAGIC-COOKIE-1  fe8332fcbfd2de8fb37d4acdf64767be
  2. login to the gw machine
  3. run:
    xauth add <line returned from step 1>
  4. Set the DISPLAY according to <host>:0. If e.g. I'm working on ant-87:
    setenv DISPLAY ant-87:0
  5. Verify that it works by running e.g. xeyes
  6. Run the command. e.g.
    srun -n1 -c4 xterm

This will open an xterm with the specified resources, but it will open only when the resources are allocated.


Each job is given priority according to several weighted factors:

  1. QOS - Requested quality of service
  2. Fairshare - The past resource consumption of the user/account
  3. Lab limit - The amount of resources currnetly used by the lab (account).
  4. Job age - How long the job is waiting in the queue


The are three main QOS: high, normal, and low. The default is normal. To use a different QOS, use the --qos flag of sbatch.


Jobs with the high QOS will be allocated before the other QOS. Don't abuse this QOS, otherwise everyone will use it and it will lose its purpose.

This QOS is limited to 5 jobs per lab.


The default QOS.


The low QOS is used to submit jobs that will run only if there is no other jobs to run. Currently no jobs are killed, so if a low priority job will run for 30 days, it can still cause normal and high priority jobs to wait.


These QOSes are used for the killable jobs. Please see Killable Jobs for more information. It is best not to use these QOSes directly.


This factor takes into account past resource use by the user/account, with some decay factor. If user1 used the cluster intensively in the past week, user2 will get higher priority. But if user1 used the cluster 2 years ago, it probably won't effect the current priority.

The share applies to the labs and the users. I.e. if a lab used many resources in the recent past, a new user in that lab might still get low priority compared to users from other labs (but not compared to users from the same lab).

Lab Limit

Each lab has an account on the cluster, which is limited to the amount of simultaionuly used resources. This amount is relative to the total cluster resources and to the amount of resources the lab has contributed to the cluster.

Job age

The longer the job is in the queue, the higher priority it will gain over other younger jobs.

Killable Jobs

If the lab has used all the resources it is allowed, users can send killable jobs. These jobs have the lowest priority, can surpass the lab limit, but will be killed if a higher priority job is submitted.

To submit a killable job, the --killable flag should be used is srun or sbatch. e.g.:

 sbatch [other options] --killable

Note that killable will set the account and the QOS, so they cannot be set by the sbatch parameters.

It is advisable to add the --requeue flag to killable jobs. This flag ensures that the job will be re-queued when killed.

The --killable flag replaces the previous "-A requeue" option. And might not be available on all clusters (yet).

Job Reasons

Queued jobs can have lots of different 'Reasons' that reflect why they are not running, a few of the more commonly seen Reasons are brought here, the full list can be found in man squeue. A job can be pending for multiple reasons but only one reason will show which can in some cases be a bit confusing, on some of our clusters jobs are automatically submitted to all partitions and will then run on the partition that suits them best, this means that it may also be submitted to a partition with a too low time limit or a partition that is not accessible to the user who submitted the job.


One or more higher priority jobs exist for this partition or advanced reservation.


The job is waiting for resources to become available.


The job's time limit exceeds one or more of it's partition's current time limit.


The user/account does not have access to one or more of the partitions that the jobs was submitted to.


The lab (account) have passed the allowed simultaneous resource usage. See Lab Limit and Killable Jobs.

Information about specific clusters

To show on which clusters you have an account, use the sacctmgr command. e.g.

sacctmgr show users -s user=$USER format=user,cluster,account,defaultaccount | awk '$3 != "default" && $3 != "requeue"'


cluster nodes RAM swap cpu (sockets:cores:threads) Max time limit gres defaults interactive jobs Notes
phoenix eye-01..04 190GB 250GB 32 (2:8:2) 3 weeks (21-0) -c2 --mem 50 --time 2:0:0 up to 2
sulfur-01..16 62GB 60GB 8 (2:4:1) 3 weeks (21-0)
gsm-01..04 256GB 250GB 32 (2:8:2) 2 days (2-0) gpu:black:4 (nvidia titan black)
gsm-03..04 1 week (7-0)
cortex-01..05 252GB 50GB 16 (2:8:1) 2 days (2-0) gpu:m60:8 (nvidia tesla M60)
cortex-06..08 24 (2:12:1)
cortex-06..07 1 week (7-0)
cortex-03..05 24 (2:12:1)
lucy-01..03 384GB 8GB 48 (2:12:2) 1 week (7-0) gpu:gtx980:2 (nvidia gtx 980)
cb-05..20 64GB 128GB 16 (2:4:2) 3 weeks (21-0)
oxygen-01..07 252GB 48GB 48 (2:12:2)
sm-01..08 48GB 48GB 16 (2:4:2)
sm-09..16 24GB 48GB 16 (2:4:2)
sm-17..20 64GB 122GB 24 (2:6:2)
hm hm-05..38 64GB 128GB 32 (2:8:2) 3 weeks (21-0) -c2 --mem 50 --time 2:0:0
hm-43..52 128GB 128GB 32 (2:8:2)
hm-53..71 256GB 128GB 48 (2:12:2)
sed sed-01..16 256GB 128GB 40 (2:10:2) 3 weeks (21-0) -c2 --mem 50 --time 2:0:0
picasso picasso-02..16 62GB 128GB 40 (2:10:2) 3 weeks (21-0) -c2 --mem 50 --time 2:0:0
warhol-01..15 24GB 48GB 8 (2:4:1)
blaise blaise-001..005 255GB 255GB 160 (2:10:8) 2 days (2-0) gpu:4 (nvidia p100) -c8 --mem 50 --time 2:0:0 up to 2 ppc64le architecture
blaise-002,003,005 1 week (7-0) none
silico silico-001 128GB 120GB 48 (2:12:2) 2 days (2-0) gpu:4 (GTX 1080Ti) -c2 --mem 50 --time 2:0:0 up to 2
silico-002..008 32 (2:8:2) 2 weeks (14-0)

The blaise machines are powerpc based. This is a different architecture from intel and different linux distribution (software might need to be recompiled). Note that blaise-gw does not have the same distribution as the blaise compute nodes.

More information

Man pages: sbatch, srun, sacct, squeue, scancel, sinfo, sstat, sprio.

web pages:

 user guide: