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Using a calculation center

TGCC (CEA calculation center)

TGCC basics

The full doc is on the TGCC intranet: (requires login/password to access it).

CCC commands

In a few words, they provide a set of commands beginning with ccc_. Some useful ones:

Disk spaces

There are also shared spaces for projects: /ccc/workflash/cont003/n4h00003/n4h00003 etc (last subdirectory is the name of a project instead of your user name)

To set/switch between spaces for different projects, use the command:

module switch dfldatadir/<project>

You need to do it before using the space, which means before using a PCOCC container which resides on this space.

Importing BrainVisa / Casa-distro virtual images

We use singularity images.

The TGCC is using pcocc.

Pcocc can import from docker exports. Thus we have con convert singularity -> docker -> .tar export -> pcocc image:

Thus docker should be installed on the system which performs conversion.

Casa-distro has a docker export function. We can run it from your development computer:

casa_distro_admin convert_image source=brainvisa-5.0.4.sif
docker save -o brainvisa-5.0.4.tar brainvisa:5.0.4
scp brainvisa-5.0.4.tar tgcc:/ccc/workflash/cont003/n4h00003/gaston/

(do not use your $HOME directory on the TGCC side, the quota there is too small to contain images.)

Then log in the TGCC (via ssh), and in a shell there:

Then the image should be in pcocc:

pcocc image list

should show it.

Copy Brainvisa databases with rsync

To copy your already existing Brainvisa database to a TGCC file system, you can use rsync but you may need to add some options:

rsync -av --copy-unsafe-links --chmod=Dg+s --chown=:YOUR_PROJECT brainvisa_database_directory tgcc:brainvisa_database_tgcc_directory

Note about BrainVisa / Soma-Workflow

Normally BrainVisa and Soma-Workflow can run in “client/server mode” from your local machine, and can connect to a computing resource like the TGCC to run jobs. However in this specific facility, it’s not recommended to use it this way (actually we don’t know if it’s allowed or if it would work, plus slurm is currently not supported in Soma-Workflow), because it would run a server on the TGCC login node, which could be seen as a security issue (even if it’s running through a secure ssh tunnel). Moreover the number of jobs that can be submitted by a user there is limited. Thus we will not use this mode, but the MPI mode instead, which runs entirely in a single parallel job.

Configuring MPI for casa-distro images

Brainvisa/Soma-workflow can run using the MPI scheduler mode in order to run a workflow inside a single parallel job. So we must grant access to MPI inside the container.

pcocc called with the correct options will mount the MPI library directory, but we must setup the PATHS in the image. We use the hook in casa-distro images which sources /casa/start_scripts/ if it is present

mkdir $CCCWORKDIR/casa_ini_scripts
cat << EOF > $CCCWORKDIR/casa_ini_scripts/
export MPI_LIBDIR=/ccc/products/openmpi-4.0.5/intel--20.0.0/default/lib
export BRIDGE_MPRUN_PRELOAD=${BRIDGE_MPRUN_PRELOAD}:${MPI_LIBDIR}/  # probably not needed ?

then submissions script must call (adapt -n to the number of CPUs to reserve):


#MSUB -q v100l
#MSUB -T 600
#MSUB -Q test
#MSUB -A n4h00003
#MSUB -m scratch,work,store,workflash
#MSUB -n 40
#MSUB -c 1
#MSUB -o /ccc/workflash/cont003/n4h00003/gaston/hcp_reco_cnn/wf_out_%I.txt
#MSUB -e /ccc/workflash/cont003/n4h00003/gaston/hcp_reco_cnn/wf_err_%I.txt

pcocc run -n 40 -c 1 -M openmpi-4.0.5 --mount /ccc/workflash/cont003/n4h00003/gaston/hcp_reco_cnn/start_scripts:/casa/start_scripts -I brainvisa-5.0.4 python -m soma_workflow.MPI_workflow_runner irene_MPI --workflow /ccc/workflash/cont003/n4h00003/gaston/large_pipeline.workflow

Then run the submission procedure using this script:

ccc_mprun <>

In the example here, we run the command python -m soma_workflow.MPI_workflow_runner inside the container, in MPI mode (as many instances of the program will be run as requested tasks specified with the -n option) This command will run a soma-workflow workflow file in the job, using the MPI scheduler mode, using the configured resource irene_MPI.

Configuring soma-workflow for MPI mode

The above command will not run successfully before the irene_MPI computing resource is configured in Soma-Workflow. On the TGCC login / submission machine, you can use a $HOME/.soma-workflow.cfg looking like this one:

DATABASE_FILE        = /ccc/cont003/home/neurospi/gaston/.soma-workflow/irene_mpi/soma_workflow.db
TRANSFERED_FILES_DIR = /ccc/cont003/home/neurospi/gaston/.soma-workflow/irene_mpi/transfered_files
SCHEDULER_TYPE       = mpi

# optional logging
SERVER_LOG_FILE   = /ccc/cont003/home/neurospi/gaston/.soma-workflow/irene_mpi/logs/log_server
SERVER_LOG_FORMAT = %(asctime)s => line %(lineno)s: %(message)s
ENGINE_LOG_DIR    = path/logs/
ENGINE_LOG_FORMAT = %(asctime)s => line %(lineno)s: %(message)s

The really important thing here is the declared resource name (you can use any name, but pass the right one to the job command), and the SCHEDULER_TYPE = mpi which tells soma-workflow that it should use the MPI scheduler mode.

BrainVisa workflows

The above help explains how to run a Soma-Workflow “workflow file”. If you are using BrainVisa, Soma-Workflow is normally integrated in BrainVisa run engine. However the MPI mode is not integrated the same way as other scheduler modes (at least for now) and cannot be used transparently. Actually from a local machine you should not use the client/server mode of Soma-Workflow, which means: do not connect the TGCC resource (irene_MPI as above, for instance). You will have to save a workflow file from BrainVisa, then transfer it to the TGCC (vias scp or rsync), and run it from the TGCC cluster login machine. This means also that the file transfer features of Soma-Workflow will not work, because we do not connect via the client/server mode. This is because we avoid to make a server run on the TGCC login node (we’re not sure it’s allowed there). Another consequence is that configuring the workflow data from the local client machine will not be that easy, unless the path translation feature is used. But the data thould then be visible from the client machine (maybe using a sshfs mount).

Otherwise the workflow should be configured from the TGCC also.

using the GUI

There are 2 ways: using a remote X11 display, or using a remote desktop application.

Remote X11 display

You must ssh to the TGCC using the -Y option to allow X11 forwarding. Then on the login node you can use graphical commands, like gedit. pcocc containers must be run using the -e DISPLAY option:

pcocc run -s -e DISPLAY -I brainvisa-5.0.4
# then in the interactive shell, you are in the container, for instance:

It is not recommended to run things on the login node. It is rather recommended to use an interactive computing node. This is done using:

ccc_mprun -Xfirst -s -p v100l

this opens an interactive shell on a computing node, where graphical commands can be run. But pcocc does not work in this mode.

Using a remote desktop application

The TGCC has setup a NiceDV access to an interactive computing node:

see their doc (needs VPN or CEA intra network)

To run it, from the login node:

ccc_visu virtual -p v100l

This opens an interactive shell in a computing node. It also prints an URL to connect to, that you can paste in a web browser. After logging in, a gnome desktop will display in the web browser, with all interactive GUI features. If the node has a GPU, GPU and OpenGL will work.

For containers, in this desktop, a local pcocc will work:

pcocc run -s -e DISPLAY -M nvidia -I brainvisa-5.0.4

This container will allow Cuda to work, as nvidia libraries are exported by pcocc inside it.

However, in our BrainVisa / casa-distro containers, OpenGL rendering does not work directly. glxinfo prints errors about “no matching fbConfigs or visuals found”.

The solution is to use vglrun: inside the pcocc container (be sure to use the pcocc option -M nvidia), run:

vglrun glxgears


vglrun anatomsit

Then hardware 3D does work !

Otherwise, without virtualgl, the other workaround we is to get back to software rendering, by setting /usr/local/lib/mesa first in the LD_LIBRARY_PATH env variable in he container:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib/mesa:"$LD_LIBRARY_PATH"

In this case it can also be needed to set the variable MESA_GLX_FORCE_ALPHA to avoid a “transparent rendering” problem. Note that using glxgears the problem seems only partly solved, but it looks better in anatomist.

This can be done in an init script, possibly via automatic detection: for instance the following line will setup software rendering only if glxinfo does not work by itself:

glxinfo > /dev/null 2>&1 || (export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib/mesa:"$LD_LIBRARY_PATH" && export MESA_GLX_FORCE_ALPHA=1)

using the commandline

We can use the axon-runprocess (or python -m brainvisa.axon.runprocess) command from a pcocc container, with the (new in 5.1) -w / --write-workflow-only option to write a workflow

Monitoring workflows execution

As for workflow creation, we cannot monitor from a remote client machine. We have to monitor on the TGCC login machine of from an interactive node. You an either use a visualization node to run soma_workflow_gui (not tried yet), or use an interactive pcocc container, and use the client API:

pcocc run -s -I brainvisa-5.0.4
% ipython
[] import soma_workflow.client as swc
[] wc = swc.WorkflowController('irene_MPI')
soma-workflow starting in local mode
new LocalConnection <soma_workflow.connection.LocalConnection object at 0x2b6bc723b510>
start engine command: /usr/bin/python2 -m soma_workflow.start_workflow_engine irene_MPI workflow_engine_rivierdi 
Communication with engine...
-> Communication with engine OK
Local connection established
Workflow controller initialised
[] wc.workflows()
{5: (None, datetime.datetime(2022, 2, 11, 14, 14, 40))}
[] wc.workflow_status(5)
[] wc.workflow_elements_status(5)
... -> lists jobs and statuses

More complete doc about PCOCC