Batch Resources

This document describes the batch resources available at the US Data Facility hosted at the SLAC Shared Scientific Data Facility (S3DF).

Use of S3DF batch is documented at

and more general Slurm documentation is available at

S3DF has two Slurm partitions roma and milano. Both of these partitions have AMD nodes with 128 cores, composed of two sockets, each with a 64-core processor (hyperthreading disabled). A Slurm job can be submitted with markup #SBATCH -p milano to run on a chosen partition. Most of Rubin’s cores are in the milano partition.

For light interactive work, e.g., running small pipetask jobs, one can obtain an interactive session on the batch nodes using srun. For example,

srun --pty --cpus-per-task=4 --mem=16GB --nodes=1 --time=02:00:00 --partition=milano --account=rubin:developers bash

will create a 2-hour, 4-core bash session with a total of 16GB memory. Specifying the total memory with --mem means that the memory can be distributed among the cores as needed, whereas using --mem-per-cpu sets the memory available for each individual core; and the option --nodes=1 ensures that all of the cores are on the same node. With this set up, one can then run pipetask -j 4, making use of the 4 allocated cores. Adding the --exclusive option will request a whole node, but in that case, one probably should be submitting a non-interactive batch job anyway. The account parameter is mandatory.

Four “repos” have been created to apportion the batch allocation. We have yet to determine the relative allocations per repo - at the time of writing, accounting has not yet been enabled. Repos are selected by appending a “:” with the repo name, eg --account rubin:developers. The non-default repos are not pre-emptible.

  • default - always preemptible

  • production - PanDA production jobs, eg DRP

  • developers

  • commissioning

All Rubin account holders can submit to any but the production repo (at some point we will divide up membership between commissioning and developers; when initially set up the repos, we added all users to both). If you are new to the USDF and you find you cannot submit to the developers or commissioning repos, check coact to see which repos you belong to. If none, request addition to the appropriate repo in the ops-usdf slack channel.

In general, using BPS is preferred to running pipetask directly since many concurrent pipetask jobs that are run like this can cause registry database contention.

Running LSST Pipelines with BPS

The LSST Batch Processing Service (BPS) is the standard execution framework for running LSST pipelines using batch resources. There are a few different plugins to BPS that are available that can be used for running BPS on various computing systems:


This section describes how to obtain an HTCondor pool in S3DF for use with BPS workflows. Upon logging in via ssh rubin-devl to either sdfrome001 or sdfrome002, one can see that htcondor is installed and running, but that no computing slots are available:

$ condor_q
-- Schedd: : < @ 01/31/23 11:51:35

Total for query: 0 jobs; 0 completed, 0 removed, 0 idle, 0 running, 0 held, 0 suspended
Total for daues: 0 jobs; 0 completed, 0 removed, 0 idle, 0 running, 0 held, 0 suspended
Total for all users: 0 jobs; 0 completed, 0 removed, 0 idle, 0 running, 0 held, 0 suspended

$ condor_status

In order to run BPS workflows via htcondor at S3DF, it is necessary to submit glide-in jobs to the S3DF Slurm scheduler using the utility of the ctrl_execute package which will reference the ctrl_platform_s3df package`. After these two packages are setup the glide-ins may be submitted.

The utility has the following options:

$ --help
 usage: [...]/ctrl_execute/bin/ [-h] [--auto] -n NODECOUNT -c CPUS [-a ACCOUNT] [-s QOS]
                                                 -m MAXIMUMWALLCLOCK [-q QUEUE] [-O OUTPUTLOG]
                                                 [-E ERRORLOG] [-g GLIDEINSHUTDOWN] [-p] [-v]
                                                 [-r RESERVATION] [-d [DYNAMIC]]

 positional arguments:
   platform              node allocation platform

   -h, --help        show this help message and exit
   --auto            use automatic detection of jobs to determine glide-ins
   -n NODECOUNT, --node-count NODECOUNT
                     number of glideins to submit; these are chunks of a node, size the number of cores/cpus
   -c CPUS, --cpus CPUS  cores / cpus per glidein
   -a ACCOUNT, --account ACCOUNT
                     Slurm account for glidein job
   -s QOS, --qos QOS Slurm qos for glidein job
                     maximum wall clock time; e.g., 3600, 10:00:00, 6-00:00:00, etc
   -q QUEUE, --queue QUEUE
                     Slurm queue / partition name
   -O OUTPUTLOG, --output-log OUTPUTLOG
                     Output log filename; this option for PBS, unused with Slurm
    -E ERRORLOG, --error-log ERRORLOG
                     Error log filename; this option for PBS, unused with Slurm
                     glide-in inactivity shutdown time in seconds
    -p, --pack       encourage nodes to pack jobs rather than spread
    -v, --verbose    verbose
    -r RESERVATION, --reservation RESERVATION
                     target a particular Slurm reservation
    -d [DYNAMIC], --dynamic [DYNAMIC]
                     configure to use dynamic/partitionable slot; legacy option: this is always enabled now

The utility requires a small measure of configuration in the user’s home directory (replace the username daues with your own):

$  cat  ~/.lsst/

A typical command line for obtaining resources for a BPS workflow could be:

$ -v -n 20 -c 32 -m 4-00:00:00 -q milano -g 240 s3df

s3df is specified as the target platform. The -q milano option specifies that the glide-in jobs should run in the milano partition (an alternative value is roma). The -n 20 -c 32 options request 20 individual glide-in slots of size 32 cores each (640 total cores, each glidein is a Slurm job that obtains a partial node). The -c option is no longer a required command line option, as it will default to a value of 16 cores. Consider carefully how many cores you actually need and will use; idle cores cannot be used by others. In allocateNodes there is now an encoded upper bound of 8000 cores to prevent a runaway scenario, and best collaborative usage is generally in the 1000-2000 total core range given current qos limits. The maximum possible time is set to 4 days via -m 4-00:00:00. The glide-in Slurm jobs may not run for the full 4 days however, as the option -g 240 specifies a condor glide-in shutdown time of 240 seconds or 4 minutes. This means that the htcondor daemons will shut themselves down after 10 minutes of inactivity (for example, after the workflow is complete), and the glide-in Slurm jobs will exit at that time to avoid wasting idle resources.

There is support for setting USDF S3DF Slurm account, repo and qos values. By default the account rubin with the developers repo (--account rubin:developers) will be used. If one wants to target a different repo, this is handled as part of the account setting, placed following a colon after the account value proper, e.g., --account rubin:commissioning. A cautionary note on account and qos values: if one sets the fairly benign looking value --account rubin, this will lead to the job having preemptable qos, and the job will be less likely to run to completion without interruption.

After submitting the command line above, the user may see Slurm jobs and htcondor slots along the lines of:

$ squeue -u <username>
       41338730    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:10      1 sdfmilan072
       41338729    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:11      1 sdfmilan071
       41338727    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:12      1 sdfmilan038
       41338724    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:13      1 sdfmilan131
       41338725    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:13      1 sdfmilan131
       41338726    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:13      1 sdfmilan131
       41338720    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:14      1 sdfmilan033
       41338721    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:14      1 sdfmilan033
       41338723    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:14      1 sdfmilan033
       41338719    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:19      1 sdfmilan023
       41338718    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:21      1 sdfmilan041
       41338717    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:23      1 sdfmilan037
       41338716    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:25      1 sdfmilan004
       41338715    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:27      1 sdfmilan231
       41338714    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:29      1 sdfmilan118
       41338712    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:31      1 sdfmilan113
       41338711    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:33      1 sdfmilan063
       41338708    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:35      1 sdfmilan070
       41338709    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:35      1 sdfmilan070
       41338710    milano glide_da    daues  R       0:35      1 sdfmilan070

$ condor_status -constraint 'regexp("daues", Name)'
Name                                                OpSys      Arch   State     Activity LoadAv Mem     ActvtyTime   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00     LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00    LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00   LINUX      X86_64 Unclaimed  Idle      0.000 131072  0+00:00:00

            Total Owner Claimed Unclaimed Matched Preempting  Drain Backfill BkIdle

X86_64/LINUX     20     0       0         20       0          0      0        0      0

       Total     20     0       0         20       0          0      0        0      0

The htcondor slots will have a label with the username, so that one user’s glide-ins may be distinguished from another’s. In this case the glide-in slots are partial node 32-core chunks, and so more than one slot can appear on a given node. The decision as to whether to request full nodes or partial nodes would depend on the general load on the cluster, i.e., if the cluster is populated with other numerous single core jobs that partially fill nodes, it will be necessary to request partial nodes to acquire available resources. Larger -c values (and hence smaller -n values for the same total number of cores) will entail less process overhead, but there may be inefficient unused cores within a slot/”node”, and slots may be harder to schedule. The -c option has a default value of 16.

The utility is set up to be run in a maintenance or cron type manner, where reissuing the exact same command line request for 20 glide-ins will not directly issue 20 additional glide-ins. Rather will strive to maintain 20 glide-ins for the workflow, checking to see if that number of glide-ins are in the queue, and resubmit any missing glide-ins that may have exited due to lulls in activity within the workflow.

With htcondor slots present and visible with condor_status, one may proceed with running ctrl_bps ctrl_bps_htcondor workflows.

Usage of the ctrl_bps_htcondor plugin and module has been extensively documented at

For running at S3DF, the following site specification can be used in the BPS configuration file:

        +Walltime: 7200

allocateNodes auto

The ctrl_execute package now provides an allocateNodes --auto mode in which the user 1) does not have to specify the number of glideins to run and 2) does not have to specify the size of the glideins. This mode is not the default, and must be explicitly invoked. In this mode the user’s idle jobs in the htcondor queue will be detected and an appropriate number of glideins submitted. The current version of allocateNodes --auto works with BPS workflows exclusively and the -c option is ignored. allocateNodes --auto searches for “large” jobs (taken to be larger than 16 cores or equivalent memory) and for each of the large jobs a customized glidein is created and submitted; for smaller jobs 16 core glideins will be submitted in the quantity needed. At this stage of development the allocateNodes --auto is used in conjunction with a bash script that runs alongside a BPS workflow or workflows. The script will invoke allocateNodes --auto at regular intervals to submit the number of glideins needed by the workflow(s) at the particular time. A sample script is:

export LSST_TAG=w_2024_08
source ${lsstsw_root}/loadLSST.bash
setup -v lsst_distrib -t ${LSST_TAG}

# Loop for a long time, executing "allocateNodes auto" every 10 minutes.
for i in {1..500}
do --auto --account rubin:developers -n ${MAXNODES} -m 4-00:00:00 -q milano -g 240 s3df
    sleep 600

On the allocateNodes --auto command line the option -n no longer specifies the desired number of glideins, but rather specifies an upper bound. allocateNodes itself has an upper bound on resource usage of 8000 cores, but the user may constrain resource utilization further with this setting. For general batch jobs, this should usually be at most 100-150. For jobs using the embargo repo, this should be at most 20.

There are two time scales in the script above. The first is the glidein shutdown with inactivity time -g 240. This can be fairly short (here 240 seconds / four minutes) to avoid idle cpus, since new glideins will be resubmitted for the user if needed in later cycles. The second time scale is the sleep time sleep 600. This provides the frequency with which to run allocateNodes, and a typical time scale is 600 seconds / ten minutes. With each invocation queries are made to the htcondor schedd and the Slurm scheduler, so it is best not run with unnecessary frequency. Each invocation of allocateNodes queries the htcondor schedd on the current development machine (e.g., sdfrome002).

After the workflow is complete all of the glideins will expire and the process can be removed with Ctrl-C, killing the process, etc. If a user has executed a bps submit and acquired resources via the / allocateNodes and everything is running, but then wishes to terminate everything, how best to proceed? A good path is to issue a bps cancel, which would take the precise form bps cancel --id <condor ID or path to run submit dir (including timestamp)>. After the cancel all htcondor jobs will be terminated soon, and the glideins will become idle and expire shortly after the glidein shutdown time with inactivity. The last item that might remain is to stop the script, as described above. For the future we are investigating if BPS itself can manage the allocateNodes auto invocations that a workflow requires, eliminating the need for the user to manage the script.


The ctrl_bps_parsl package uses the Parsl parallel programming library to enable running on HPC resources. This plugin can also be configured for running on a single node, such as a laptop, which is useful for testing and development. An earlier version of this plugin was developed by DESC and has been used extensively by DESC at NERSC, CC-IN2P3, and CSD3 for running the LSST Science Pipelines at scale. The ctrl_bps_parsl package README has further details about the history, development, and usage of this plugin. The README also has instructions for installing Parsl for use with the LSST Science Pipelines code.

There are nominally four different site configuration classes in ctrl_bps_parsl that can be used for running BPS jobs on the SLAC S3DF cluster. Here is an example BPS configuration file that illustrates possible configurations for each one:

pipelineYaml: "${DRP_PIPE_DIR}/ingredients/LSSTCam-imSim/DRP.yaml"

wmsServiceClass: lsst.ctrl.bps.parsl.ParslService
computeSite: local

  log_level: INFO

    class: lsst.ctrl.bps.parsl.sites.Local
    cores: 8
    class: lsst.ctrl.bps.parsl.sites.Slurm
    nodes: 2
    walltime: 2:00:00     # This is 2 hours
    cores_per_node: 100
    qos: normal
    scheduler_options: |
      #SBATCH --partition=roma
      #SBATCH --exclusive
    class: lsst.ctrl.bps.parsl.sites.TripleSlurm
    nodes: 1
    cores_per_node: 100
    qos: normal
    small_memory: 2.0     # Units are GB
    medium_memory: 4.0
    large_memory: 8.0
    small_walltime: 10.0   # Units are hours
    medium_walltime: 10.0
    large_walltime: 40.0
    class: lsst.ctrl.bps.parsl.sites.work_queue.LocalSrunWorkQueue
    worker_options: "--memory=480000"   # work_queue expects memory in MB
    nodes_per_block: 10

Different configurations are listed, with user-provided labels, under the site section, and the configuration that’s used in the actual BPS submission is specified in the computeSite field via one of those labels.

Monitoring of the pipetask job progress can be enabled by adding the lines

    monitorEnable: true
    monitorFilename: runinfo/monitoring.db

to the desired site subsection. The monitorFilename field specifies the name of the sqlite3 file into which the Parsl workflow tracking information is written. Parsl has a web-app for displaying the monitoring information, and installation of the packages needed to support that web-app are described in the ctrl_bps_parsl README. This python module provides an example for reading the info from that monitoring database.


As of 2022-09-27, the parsl module and its dependencies are only available at S3DF via the CVMFS distributions of lsst_distrib for weekly w_2022_37 and later. However, the modules needed for Parsl monitoring are not available in the CVMFS distributions. They can be installed in ~/.local with the following commands:

$ source /cvmfs/
$ setup lsst_distrib
$ pip install 'parsl[monitoring]' --user
$ pip uninstall sqlalchemy

The pip uninstall sqlalchemy command is needed since the pip install 'parsl[monitoring]' command installs an earlier version of sqlalchemy that’s incompatible with lsst_distrib.

Notes on each of the example configurations follow (Each class listed below lives in the lsst.ctrl.bps.parsl.sites namespace):


This class should be used for running on a single node. The cores field should be set to the number of cores that will be reserved for running the individual pipetask commands, with one core allocated per pipetask job. For example, a Local configuration can be used in an interactive Slurm session obtained using srun

srun --pty --cpus-per-task=8 --mem-per-cpu=4G --time=01:00:00 --partition=roma bash

Note that the --cpus-per-task matches the number of cores in the local config.


This class uses a generic Slurm site configuration that can, in principle, be used with any Slurm submission system.

In the above example, an allocation of 2 nodes with at least 100 cores per node is requested. Various sbatch options can be passed to slurm via the scheduler_options entry. In the above example, we’ve chosen the roma partition at S3DF and requested exclusive use of the nodes.

The bps submit <bps config yaml> command will have Parsl submit a pilot job request to the Slurm queues, and once the pilot job starts, Parsl will run the pipetask jobs on that allocation. Meanwhile, the bps submit command will continue to run on the user’s command line, outputting various log messages from BPS and Parsl. The Slurm configuration class uses Parsl’s HighThroughputExecutor to manage the job execution on the allocated nodes, assigning one core per pipetask job. An important caveat is that the per-pipetask memory requests provided by the BPS config are ignored, so if the average memory per pipetask exceeds 4GB and all of the cores on a S3DF batch node are running, an out-of-memory error will occur, and the Slurm job will terminate. The TripleSlurm and LocalSrunWorkQueue configuration classes provide ways of handling the per-pipetask memory requests.

A useful feature of this class is that it uses the sbatch --dependency=singleton option to schedule a Slurm job that is able to begin execution as soon as the previous job (with the same job name and user) finishes. This way long running pipelines need not request a single, long (and difficult to schedule) allocation at the outset and can instead use a series of smaller allocations as needed.


This configuration provides three HighThroughputExecutors, each with different memory limits for the pipetask jobs that are run on them. In the above example, each executor assigns the specified memory per core, and accordingly limits the number of available cores for running jobs given the total memory per node. Pipetask jobs that request less than 2GB of memory will be run on the “small” allocation; jobs that request between 2GB and 4GB of memory will be run on the “medium” allocation; and all other jobs will be run on the “large” allocation. Despite the segregation into small, medium, and large memory requests, there is still the risk of jobs that request more than 8GB on average causing the “large” allocation to suffer an out-of-memory error.


The LocalSrunWorkQueue configuration class uses Parsl’s WorkQueueExecutor to manage the resource requests by the individual pipetask jobs. It uses the work_queue module to keep track of overall resource usage in the allocation and launches jobs when and where the needed resources are available.

In this class, a Parsl LocalProvider manages the resources from within the allocation itself, and so the procedure for running with this class differs from the Slurm-based classes in that the user is responsible for submitting the pilot job using sbatch command and running the bps submit command within the submission script. In the pilot job, one of the nodes serves as the Parsl “submission node” and runs the pipetask jobs on the available nodes (including the submission node) using the Slurm srun command. Here is an example submission script with the sbatch options set to match the work_queue configuration shown above:


#SBATCH --nodes=10
#SBATCH --exclusive
#SBATCH --time=02:00:00

cd <working_dir>
source /cvmfs/
setup lsst_distrib
<other setup commands>
bps submit <bps yaml file>

Since the Parsl-plugin and other processes running on the submission node have their own memory requirements, one should set the memory available per node to a value somewhat smaller than the total memory capacity. This is done with the worker_options: "--memory=480000" option, where memory is in units of MB. This memory limit applies to all of the nodes in the allocation, so for Slurm jobs that request a large number of nodes, e.g., more than ~20, it would be more efficient to set aside a single node on which to run the bps submit command and use the other nodes as “worker” nodes. This can be accomplished by prepending srun to the bps command in the Slurm batch script:

srun bps submit <bps yaml file>

In this case, one should set #SBATCH --nodes=N so that N is one greater than the nodes_per_block value in the BPS config entry.

To use this class, the work_queue module must be installed. That module is available from the cctools toolkit, which is itself available from conda-forge.