Submit jobs with queue matching

In this exercise and the next one, you will explore more ways to use a single submit file to submit many jobs. The focus of this exercise is to submit one job per filename that matches a given pattern.

In all cases of submitting many jobs from a single submit file, the key questions are:

  • What makes each job unique? In other words, there is one job per _____?
  • So, how should you tell HTCondor to distinguish each job?

For queue *N*, jobs are distinguished simply by the built-in "process" variable. But with the remaining queue forms, you help HTCondor distinguish jobs by other, more meaningful custom variables.

Counting Words in Files[edit | edit source]

Suppose you have a collection of books, and you want to analyze how words vary from book to book or author to author. As mentioned in the lecture, HTCondor provides many ways to do this task. You could create a separate submit file for each book, and submit all of the files manually, but you'd have a lot of file lines to modify each time (in particular, all five of the last lines before queue below):

executable              =
request_memory          = 20MB
request_disk            = 20MB

transfer_input_files = AAiW.txt
arguments            = AAiW.txt
output               = AAiW.out
error                = AAiW.err
log                  = AAiW.log

Queue Jobs By Matching Filenames[edit | edit source]

For our analysis, we will have a new version of the word-frequency counting script. It takes a single command-line argument, which is the name of the input file containing the text of a book, and it outputs the frequency of each word from least to most common. There will be several book files, and the filename for each book ends with .txt.

This is an example of a common scenario: We want to run one job per file, where the filenames match a certain consistent pattern. The queue ... matching statement is made for this scenario.

Let's see this in action. First, here is the new version of the script:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import os
import sys
import operator

if len(sys.argv) != 2:
    print 'Usage: %s DATA' % (os.path.basename(sys.argv[0]))
input_filename = sys.argv[1]

words = {}

my_file = open(input_filename, 'r')
for line in my_file:
    line_words = line.split()
    for word in line_words:
        if word in words:
            words[word] += 1
            words[word] = 1

sorted_words = sorted(words.items(), key=operator.itemgetter(1))
for word in sorted_words:
    print '%s %8d' % (word[0], word[1])

To use the script:

  1. Save it as
  2. Download and unpack some books from Project Gutenberg:

    username@learn $ wget
    username@learn $ unzip
  3. Verify the script by running it on one book manually.
  4. Create a submit file to submit one job (pick a book file and model your submit file off of the one above), including memory and disk requests of 20 MB; submit it, if you like.
  5. Modify the following submit file statements to work for all books:

    transfer_input_files = $(BOOK) 
    arguments = $(book) 
    output = $(book).out 
    error = $(book).err 
    queue book matching *.txt

    Note! As always, the order of statements in a submit file does not matter, except that the queue statement should be last. Also note that any submit file variable name (here, book, but true for process and all others) may be used in any mixture of upper- and lowercase letters.

  6. Submit the jobs.

HTCondor uses the queue ... matching statement to look for files in the submit directory that match the given pattern, then queues one job per match. For each job, the given variable (e.g., book here) is assigned the name of the matching file, so that it can be used in output, error, and other statements.

The result is the same as if we had written out a much longer submit file:


transfer_input_files = AAiW.txt
arguments = "AAiW.txt"
output = AAiW.txt.out
error = AAiW.txt.err

transfer_input_files = PandP.txt
arguments = "PandP.txt"
output = PandP.txt.out
error = PandP.txt.err

transfer_input_files = TAoSH.txt
arguments = "TAoSH.txt"
output = TAoSH.txt.out
error = TAoSH.txt.err

Here is some example condor_q -nobatch output:

  89.0   iaross          7/17 11:41   0+00:00:00 I  0    0.0 AAiW.txt
  89.1   iaross          7/17 11:41   0+00:00:00 I  0    0.0 PandP.txt
  89.2   iaross          7/17 11:41   0+00:00:00 I  0    0.0 TAoSH.txt

All three jobs were part of cluster 89. The first filename that was matched in the queue statement resulted in a process ID of 0, the second match has a process ID of 1, and the third has a process ID of 2.

When the three jobs finish, carefully look at the resulting files. Do they match your expectations? There should be a single log file, but three separate output files and three separate (and hopefully empty) error files, one for each job.

Extra Challenge[edit | edit source]

In the example above, you used a single log file for all three jobs. HTCondor handles this situation with no problem; each job writes its events into the log file without getting in the way of other events and other jobs. But as you may have seen, it may be difficult for a person to understand the events for any particular job in the combined log file.

Create a new submit file that works just like the one above, except that each job writes its own log file.