Modes of execution

In the previously presented examples we submitted a single CPU applications. However QCG-PilotJob Manager is intended for use in HPC environments, especially with Slurm scheduling system. The execution on a cluster is therefore a default mode of execution of QCG-PilotJob. In order to support users in testing their scenarios before the actual execution on a cluster, QCG-PilotJob can be also run in a local environment. Below we present these two modes of execution of QCG-PilotJob.

Scheduling systems

In case of execution via Slurm we submit a request to scheduling system and when requested resources are available, the allocation is created and our application is run inside it. Of course we might run our job’s directly in scheduling system without any pilot job mechanism, but we have to remember about some limitations of scheduling systems such as - maximum number of submitted/executing jobs in the same time, queueing time (significant for large number of jobs), job array mechanism only for same resource requirement jobs. Generally, scheduling systems wasn’t designed for handling very large number of small jobs.

To use QCG-PilotJob Manager in HPC environment, we suggest to install QCG-PilotJob Manager via virtual environment in directory shared among all computing nodes (most of home directories are available from computing nodes). On some systems, we need to load a proper Python >= 3.6 module before:

$ module load python/3.7.3

Next we can create virtual environment with QCG-PilotJob Manager:

$ python3 -m virtualenv $HOME/qcgpj-venv
$ source $HOME/qcgpj-venv/bin/activate
$ pip install qcg-pilotjob

Now we can use this virtual environment in our jobs. The example job submission script for Slurm scheduling system that launched application that uses QCG-PilotJob Manager API, may look like this:

#SBATCH --job-name=qcgpilotjob-ex
#SBATCH --nodes=2
#SBATCH --tasks-per-node=28
#SBATCH --time=60

module load python/3.7.3
source $HOME/qcgpj-venv/bin/activate


Of course, some scheduling system might require some additional parameters like:

  • --account - name of the account/grant we want to use
  • --partition - the partition name where our job should be scheduled

To submit a job with QCG-PilotJob Manager in batch mode with JSON jobs description file, we have to change the last line to:

python -m qcg.pilotjob.service --file-path jobs.json


Affinity binding supported by Slurm and used by QCG-PilotJob may not work properly when allocation doesn’t contain entire nodes, so we recommended running QCG-PilotJob on allocations with entire nodes reserved.


Once QCG-PilotJob is submitted via Slurm or QCG middleware, it inherits the execution environment set by those systems. Some environment variables, such as the location of a shared directory, may be useful in a user’s tasks. In order to get more detailed information on this topic please see Execution environments.

Local execution

QCG-PilotJob Manager supports local mode that is suitable for locally testing execution scenarios. In contrast to execution mode, where QCG-PilotJob Manager is executed in scheduling system allocation, all jobs are launched with the usage of scheduling system. In the local mode, the user itself can define the size of available resources and execute it’s scenario on such defined resources without the having access to scheduling system. It’s worth remembering that QCG-PilotJob Manager doesn’t verify the physically available resources, also the executed jobs are not launched with any core/processor affinity. Thus the performance of jobs might not be optimal.

The choice between allocation (in scheduling system allocation) or local mode is made automatically by the QCG PilotJob Manager during the start. If scheduling system environment will be detected, the allocation mode will be chosen. In other case, the local mode will be active, and if resources are not defined by the user, the default number of available cores in the system will be taken.

The command line arguments, that also might by passed as argument server_args during instantiating the LocalManager , related to the local mode are presented below:

  • --nodes NODES - the available resources definition; the NODES parameter should have format:

  • --envschema ENVSCHEMA - job execution environment; for each job QCG-PilotJob Manager can create environment similar to the Slurm execution environment

Some examples of resources definition:

  • --nodes 4 - single node with 4 available cores
  • --nodes n1:2 - single named node with 2 available cores
  • --nodes 4,2,2 - three unnamed nodes with 8 total cores
  • --nodes n1:4, n2:4, n3:4 - three named nodes with 12 total cores