Breniac quick start guide¶
Breniac is the VSC’s Tier-1 cluster.
Breniac login infrastructure¶
Direct login using SSH is possible to all login infrastructure.
Only users involced in an active Tier-1 project have access to the infrastructure.
Two types of login nodes are available:
a classic login node, i.e., SSH access.
a login node that provides a desktop environment that can be used for, e.g., visualization, see the NX clients section:
This node should not be accessed using terminal SSH, it serves only as a gateway to the actual login nodes your NX sessions will be running on.
The NX login node will start a session on a login node that has a GPU, i.e.,
Since Breniac has two types of architectures, some care needs to be taken when building software, or selecting software to run. The newer skylake CPUs support the AVX-512 instruction set, which improves vectorization considerably. Both skylake and broadwell nodes support AVX2.
Computationally intensive software is best compiled with architecture-specific optimizations. The software stack typically has versions optimized for the two architectures, and the appropriate packages for an architecture are the default on nodes with that architecture.
If you want to, e.g., check the availability of software for a different architecture from the node you are currently on, you can do that by adding the appropriate module path, i.e.,
$ module use /apps/leuven/broadwell/2018a/modules/all
$ module use /apps/leuven/skylake/2018a/modules/all
Please run a (interactive) job to do builds on nodes with the target architectures. This is best practice in any case since software builds tax the shared login nodes, and may disrupt the work of other users.
Running jobs on Breniac¶
The way you submit jobs on Breniac is similar to what you are used to on VSC Tier-2 infrastructure, you can review the documentation for a refresher if necessary.
On Breniac an accounting system is used, so you need to specify a
-A option. If you are not familiar with
a credit system, please read the documentation on credit system.
The charge rate is the same for all nodes, i.e., 1 credit per node-day.
Since we use a routing queue on Breniac, you are advised not to explicitly
specify a queue using the
-q option, but rather to simply specify the
required walltime (at most 3 days).
There is a limit on the number of jobs you can have in a queue. This number includes idle, running, and blocked jobs. If you try to submit more jobs than the maximum number, these jobs will be deferred and will not start. Therefore you should always respect the following limits on how many jobs you have in a queue at the same time:
q1h: max_user_queueable = 400
q24h: max_user_queueable = 500
q72h: max_user_queueable = 300
There are several types of nodes in the Breniac cluster: compute nodes with skylake CPUs, and nodes with broadwell CPUs. The latter have either 128 or 256 GB RAM. See the documentation on Breniac hardware for details.
Submit to a skylake node¶
To submit to a skylake compute node it all boils down to specifying the required number of nodes and cores, and desired feature. As the nodes have a single job policy we recommend to always request all available cores per node (28 cores in this case). For example to request 2 nodes with each 28 cores you can submit like this:
$ qsub -l nodes=2:ppn=28:skylake -l walltime=2:00:00 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Submit to a broadwell node¶
To submit to a broadwell compute node in case you don’t care whether the job ends up on nodes with 128 or 256 GB RAM, you specify the required number of nodes and cores, and desired feature. As the nodes have a single job policy we recommend to always request all available cores per node (28 cores in this case). For example to request 2 nodes with each 28 cores you can submit like this:
$ qsub -l nodes=2:ppn=28:broadwell -l walltime=2:00:00 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
If you want to make sure your job will run on nodes with 128 GB RAM, you add a feature specification:
$ qsub -l nodes=2:ppn=28:broadwell -l walltime=2:00:00 -l feature=mem128 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Submit to a 256 GB broadwell node¶
To submit to a broadwell compute node that has 256 GB RAM, you specify the required number of nodes and cores, and desired feature. As the nodes have a single job policy we recommend to always request all available cores per node (28 cores in this case). For example to request 2 nodes with each 28 cores you can submit like this:
$ qsub -l nodes=2:ppn=28:broadwell -l walltime=2:00:00 -l feature=mem256 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Debug jobs on Breniac¶
Debugging an application on a busy cluster can sometimes pose a problem due to long queuing times. For this purpose, 4 broadwell nodes have been reserved as debugging nodes. A few restrictions apply:
you can only submit a single debug job at the time,
the debug job can use at most 4 nodes, and
the maximum walltime for a debug job is 1 hour.
To submit a job to run on the debug nodes, you have to specify the Quality
Of Service (
$ qsub -l nodes=2:ppn=28:broadwell -l walltime=1:00:00 -l qos=debugging \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Job communication and network islands¶
Breniac’s interconnect is partitioned into islands. The communication latency will be minimal for nodes that are part of the same island.
Hence if your job runs on less than 24 nodes (or 672 cores) you can
request that all nodes the job runs on are in the same island. This
is done by specifying the
$ qsub -l nodes=20:ppn=28 -l walltime=2:00:00 -l feature=singleisland \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Similarly, if your job runs on less than 68 nodes (broadwell), or
48 nodes (skylake) you can request that all nodes the job runs on are
in the same rack. This is done by specifying the
$ qsub -l nodes=40:ppn=28 -l walltime=2:00:00 -l feature=singlerack \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Running on specific nodes/islands¶
You can request that your job runs on specific nodes, islands or racks, for, e.g., benchmarking purposes.
On a busy cluster this means that the queue time of your jobs may increase substantially, so only request specific nodes, islands or racks when you really need to.
Running jobs on specific nodes¶
To run a job on node
r13i03n1, you would request:
$ qsub -l nodes=r13i03n1:ppn=28 -l walltime=2:00:00 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
To submit a job on multiple nodes, e.g.,
use the following syntax:
$ qsub -l nodes=r13i03n1:ppn=28+r13i03n2:ppn=28 -l walltime=2:00:00 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Running jobs on specific islands¶
The islands are indicated on the visual representation of the
cluster in the hardware documentation. The
names of islands follow the pattern
the number of the rack, and
<yy> depends on the rack.
To, e.g., run on island
r16i15 specify the resource request as:
$ qsub -l nodes=10:ppn=28 -l walltime=2:00:00 -l feature=r16i15 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Not all islands have the same number of nodes, e.g.,
20 nodes, while
r01i11 has 24. Consult the visual
representation of the cluster for an overview.
Running jobs on specific racks¶
For larger jobs that still fit within a single rack, you can specify
that rack as
19. For example, to request 40 nodes in
r02, you would
$ qsub -l nodes=40:ppn=28 -l walltime=2:00:00 -l feature=r02 \ -A myproject myjobscript.pbs
Not all racks have the same number of nodes, e.g.,
68 nodes, while
r12 has 48. Consult the visual
representation of the cluster for an overview.