Other types of jobs

Instructor note

Total: 75min (Teaching:45Min | Discussion:0min | Breaks:0min | Exercises:30Min)


  • Objectives

    • Interactive jobs for testing

Up to this point, we’ve focused on running jobs in batch mode. SLURM also provides the ability to start an interactive session.

There are very frequently tasks that need to be done interactively. Creating an entire job script might be overkill, but the amount of resources required is too much for a login node to handle. A good example of this might be building a genome index for alignment with a tool like HISAT2. Fortunately, we can run these types of tasks as a one-off with srun.

Interactive jobs

Instead of running on a login node, you can ask the queue system to allocate compute resources for you, and once assigned, you can run commands interactively for as long as requested. The below is an example.


Interactive jobs require that you maintain a stable/uninterupted connection to the cluster. There for we use terminal multiplexer like tmux or screen

salloc --account=nn9997k --time=1:1:00 --nodes=1 --ntasks=2 --mem=17G

Find out available resources on a compute node

User interactive login to access a compute node and find out number of cores and amount of memory. How much of it is at your disposal ?

Keeping interactive jobs alive

Interactive jobs stop when you disconnect from the login node either by choice or by internet connection problems. To keep a job alive you can use a terminal multiplexer like tmux.

tmux allows you to run processes as usual in your standard bash shell

You start tmux on the login node before you get an interactive Slurm session with srun and then do all the work in it. In case of a disconnect you simply reconnect to the login node and attach to the tmux session again by typing:

$ tmux attach

Or in case you have multiple session running:

$ tmux list-session
$ tmux attach -t SESSION_NUMBER

As long as the tmux session is not closed or terminated (e.g. by a server restart) your session should continue. One problem with our systems is that the tmux session is bound to the particular login server you get connected to. So if you start a tmux session on login-1 on SAGA and next time you get randomly connected to login-2 you first have to connect to login-1 again by:

$ ssh login-1

To log out a tmux session without closing it you have to press Ctrl-B (that the Ctrl key and simultaneously “b”, which is the standard tmux prefix) and then “d” (without the quotation marks). To close a session just close the bash session with either Ctrl-D or type exit. You can get a list of all tmux commands by Ctrl-B and the ? (question mark). See also this page for a short tutorial of tmux. Otherwise, working inside a tmux session is almost the same as a normal bash session.