Run jobs!

The goal of this exercise is to run some jobs...[edit | edit source]

This is the fundamental goal for an HTCondor system, to be able to run jobs. Make sure you are able to successfully run jobs by the end of it, else other exercises won't make much sense. Ask questions!

Run a simple command using a submit file[edit | edit source]

Here is a simple submit file for the hostname command:
universe = vanilla
executable = /bin/hostname

output = simple.out
error = simple.err
log = simple.log

request_cpus = 1
request_memory = 1MB
request_disk = 1MB

Write those lines of text in a file called simple.sub

Note: There is nothing magic about the name of an HTCondor submit file. It can be any filename you want. It's a good practice to always include the .sub extension, but it is not required. Ultimately, a submit file is a text file

The lines of the submit file have the following meanings:

universe The type of job this is. The default vanilla universe is a normal job. Later on, we will discuss other, special universes.
executable The name of the program to run (relative to the directory from which you submit).
output The filename where HTCondor will write the standard output from your job.
error The filename where HTCondor will write the standard error from your job. This particular job is not likely to have any, but it is best to include this line for every job.
log The filename where HTCondor will write information about your job run. Technically not required, it is a really good idea to have a log file for every job.
request_* Tells HTCondor how many cpus and how much memory and disk we want, which is not much, because the 'hostname' executable is pretty simple
queue Tells HTCondor to run your job with the settings above.

Note that we are not using the arguments lines or transfer_input_files because the hostname program is all that needs to be transferred from the submit server, and we want to run it without any additional options.

Double-check your submit file, so that it matches the text above. Then, tell HTCondor to run your job:
$> condor_submit simple.sub
Submitting job(s).
1 job(s) submitted to cluster NNNN.
The actual cluster number will be shown instead of NNNN.

If, instead of the text above, there are error messages, read them carefully and then try to correct your submit file.

Notice that condor_submit returns back to the shell prompt right away. It does not wait for your job to run. Instead, as soon as it has finished submitting your job into the queue, the submit command finishes.

Now, use condor_q and condor_q -nobatch to watch for your job in the queue. You probably may not even catch the job in the R running state, because the hostnamecommand runs very quickly. When the job itself is finished, it will no longer be listed in the condor_q output.

The output from your job is written to the filename given in the output line of your submit file. Thus, after the job finishes, you should be able to see the hostnameoutput in simple.out, since this information is usually printed to the terminal by the hostname program, and not to a special file of it's own.

Run this to see the output:

$ cat simple.out

The simple.err file should be empty, unless there were issues running the hostname executable after it was transferred to the slot. The simple.log is more complex and will be the focus of a later exercise.

Running a job with arguments[edit | edit source]

Very often, when you run a command on the command line, it includes arguments after the command name itself:
$> cat simple.out
$> sleep 60
$> dc -e '6 7 * p'
In an HTCondor submit file, the command (or "program") name itself goes in the executable statement and all remaining arguments go into an arguments statement. For example, if the full command is:
$> sleep 60
Then in the submit file, we put:
executable = /bin/sleep
arguments = "60"
Note: Put the entire list of arguments inside one pair of double-quotes. For the command-line command:
$> dc -e '6 7 * p'
Then in the submit file, we put:
executable = /usr/bin/dc
arguments = "-e '6 7 * p'"
Let’s try a job submission with arguments. We will use the sleep command shown above, which simply does nothing for the specified number of seconds, then exits normally. It is convenient for simulating a job that takes a while to run. Create a new submit file (you name it this time!) and save the following text in it.
universe = vanilla
executable = /bin/sleep
arguments = "60"

output = sleep.out
error = sleep.err
log = sleep.log

request_cpus = 1
request_memory = 1MB
request_disk = 1MB

Except for changing a few filenames, this submit file is nearly identical to the last one. But, see the extra arguments line?

Submit this new job. Again, watch for it to run using condor_q and condor_q -nobatch; check once every 15 seconds or so. Once the job starts running, it will take about 1 minute to run (because of the sleep command, right?), so you should be able to see it running for a bit. When the job finishes, it will disappear from the queue, but there will be no output in the output or error files, because sleep does not produce any output.

Running a script job from the submit directory[edit | edit source]

So far, we have been running programs (executables) that come with the standard Linux system. But you are not limited to standard programs. In this example, you will write a simple shell script (command line) executable in the submit directory, then write a submit file to run it.

  1. Put the following contents into a file named
    echo 'Date:    ' $(date)
    echo 'Host:    ' $(hostname)
    echo 'System:  ' $(uname -spo)
    echo "Program: $0"
    echo "Args:    $*"
  2. Make the file itself executable:
    $ chmod +x
  3. Test your script from the command line:
    $ ./ hello 42
    Date:     Mon Aug 28 13:36:22 CEST 2017
    System:   Linux x86_64 GNU/Linux
    Program: ./
    Args:    hello 42
    This step is really important! If you cannot run your executable from the command-line, HTCondor probably cannot run it on another machine, either. And debugging simple problems like this one is surprisingly difficult. So, if possible, test your executable and arguments as a command at the command-line first.
  4. Write the submit file (this should be getting easier now):
    universe                = vanilla
    executable              =
    arguments               = "foo bar baz"
    output                  = script.out
    error                   = script.err
    log                     = script.log
    request_cpus = 1
    request_memory = 1
    request_disk = 1
    Note: As this example shows, blank lines and spaces around the = sign do not matter to HTCondor. Use whitespace to make things clear to you. What format do you prefer to read?
  5. Submit the job, wait for it to finish, check the output. (Are you surprised by the Program: line in the output? Why is it like that? Google for it, or ask an instructor if you are curious, although the answer is not that exciting.)

In this example, the executable that was named in the submit file did not start with a /, so the location of the file is relative to the submit directory itself. In other words, in this format the executable must be in the same directory as the submit file