Working with Parallel Computational Resources

Warning: This is a very advanced topic for dealing with parallel compute resources in OpenMDAO. If you have not gone through at least our basic tutorial and our optimization tutorial, then you should become more familiar with the foundations of OpenMDAO before delving into this section.

Specifying Computational Resources

OpenMDAO uses the concept of resource allocators to decouple the specification of a simulation from the computational resources it requires. This makes simulations more portable and also allows for the currently “best” resource to be used. The ResourceAllocationManager (RAM) manages the selection of a server from one or more registered allocators. ExternalCode, CaseIteratorDriver, and DOEdriver are able to use this facility.

During ExternalCode execution, if the instance has an empty resources dictionary, then the external code is run locally and started directly by the ExternalCode instance. If, however, the resources dictionary is not empty, then it is used to allocate a server process which can support the resource request. This allocation process is performed by the RAM. Once a suitable server is found, the ExternalCode instance will send any input files to the server, invoke execute_command() on the server, and then retrieve any output files.

During CaseIteratorDriver or DOEdriver execution, a resource allocation is performed for each case to be evaluated (unless sequential execution is specified). Once the server is allocated, the sub-model egg is loaded into the server, input variables are set, the model is run, and outputs are retrieved. The resource allocator normally just looks for a compatible server based on the sub-model’s Python requirements, but you can add additional resource information via the extra_resources attribute. The RAM method max_request() can be useful for generating the extra_resources attribute value when the sub-model contains resource descriptions (for example, when the sub-model contains a wrapper for a parallel CFD code). In some circumstances, particularly when submitting from a Windows client to a Linux server (or vice-versa), there will be spurious Python incompatibilities. You can try forcing a submission by setting the ignore_egg_requirements attribute to True.

There are several OpenMDAO resource allocators available:

This is the default. It returns server processes on the local host. The RAM is initialized with one of these, named LocalHost.
This is a proxy for an allocator on a remote host. It is typically created by RAM.add_remotes(server), providing the local RAM access to all allocators defined in the remote server’s RAM. Note that OpenMDAO servers can be accessed through an SSH tunnel. So if a system is behind a firewall that allows SSH tunneling, its allocators may be added to the local RAM.
This allocator selects from a collection of dynamically started host servers via their respective LocalHost allocators.
This allocator returns servers which use the GridEngine qsub command when execute_command() is invoked.
This allocator returns servers which use the PBS qsub command when execute_command() is invoked.

Since some types of allocated servers are capable of submitting jobs to queuing systems, a resource description is a dictionary that can include both allocation and queuing information. Allocation keys are used to find suitable servers while queuing keys are used to describe the job to be submitted.

Allocation Key Value Description
allocator string Name of allocator to use
localhost bool Must be/must not be on the local host
exclude list Hostnames to exclude
required_distributions list List of pkg_resources.Distribution or package requirement strings
orphan_modules list List of “orphan” module names
python_version string Python version required (e.g., “2.7”)
python_platform string Python platform required (e.g., “linux-x86_64”)
min_cpus int Minimum number of CPUs/cores required
max_cpus int Maximum number of CPUs/cores that can be used
min_phys_memory int Minimum amount of memory required (KB)

Values for required_distributions and orphan_modules are typically taken from the return value of component.save_to_egg(). The value for python_platform is typically taken from the return value of distutils.util.get_platform(). The min_phys_memory key is also used as a queuing key. The min_cpus and max_cpus keys are also used as queuing keys for parallel applications. They are analogous to the DRMAA (Distributed Resource Management Application API) minSlots and maxSlots attributes, with the intent that a “cpu” can execute an MPI process (A DRMAA “slot” is opaque and can have different interpretations).

Most of the queuing keys are derived from the DRMAA standard JobTemplate:

Queuing Key Value Description
remote_command string Command to execute (just the command, no arguments)
args list Arguments for the command
submit_as_hold bool Submit job to start in HOLD state
rerunnable bool Job is rerunnable (default False)
job_environment dict Any additional environment variables needed
working_directory string Directory to execute in (use with care)
job_category string Type of job, useful for parallel codes
email list List of email addresses to notify
email_on_started bool Notify when jobs starts
email_on_terminated bool Notify when job terminates
job_name string Name for the submitted job
input_path string Path for stdin
output_path string Path for stdout
error_path string Path for stderr
join_files bool If True, stderr is joined with stdout
reservation_id string ID of reservation (obtained externally)
queue_name string Name of queue to use
priority int Queuing priority
start_time datetime Timestamp for when to start the job
deadline_time datetime Timestamp for when the job must be complete
resource_limits dict Job resource limits (see below)
accounting_id string ID used for job accounting
native_specification list Queuing system specific options

Using native_specification is discouraged since that makes the submitting application less portable. However, at times its use is necessary in order to access specific features of a queuing system.

DRMAA derived job categories:

Category Environment
MPI Any MPI environment
GridMPI A GridMPI environment
LAM-MPI A LAM/MPI environment
MPICH1 A MPICH version 1 environment
MPICH2 A MPICH version 2 environment
OpenMPI A OpenMPI environment
PVM A PVM environment
OpenMP A OpenMP environment
OpenCL A OpenCL environment
Java A Java environment

DRMAA derived resource limits:

Name Type
core_file_size Soft
data_seg_size Soft
file_size Soft
open_files Soft
stack_size Soft
virtual_memory Soft
cpu_time Hard
wallclock_time Hard

Soft limits do not affect scheduling decisions. Hard limits may be used for scheduling.

Times are in seconds.

The HOME_DIRECTORY and WORKING_DIRECTORY constants in openmdao.main.resource may be used as placeholders in path specifications. They are translated at the server.

Not all resource allocators support all the features listed above. Consult the allocator documentation to see what is supported and to find out how the features are translated to the system the allocator interfaces with.

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