How to Submit Jobs a the Cluster


This is completely with the help of Alvince Pongos, aka Master of Clusters.

Login to a Node via SSH

First you need to be in one of the nodes in order to work remotely. In this case you can use your username


Compile an Executable

To run MATLAB scripts, you will often have to compile your .m scripts into an executable. For UNIX systems, you will likely use a .sh file, where as in Windows machines, you’ll likely use a .exe file.

When in your working directory, to compile your filename.m script, run the following line:

$ mcc -mv filename.m -R nodisplay

In case you have any addpath() function in your script, it’s advisable to put the flag -a in order to add specific files, or to add any folder and its subfolders to path. E.g.

$ mcc -mv filename.m -R nodisplay -a ./MyToolbox_of_Tools

The mcc function is a MATLAB compiler (see the documentation). Its syntax follows mcc options mfilename1 mfilename2...mfilenameN

The -m flag compiles the function into a standalone application. The -v flag displays the compilation steps (e.g. MATLAB compiler version number, the source file names as they ar processed, the invocation of mbuild, the names of the generated output files as they are created). The filename.m is the desired file for which you wish to setup an executable. The -R flag provides MATLAB runtime options

Option Description Target
-logfile,filename Specify a log file name. MATLAB Compiler
-nodisplay Suppress the MATLAB nodisplay run-time warning. MATLAB Compiler
-nojvm Do not use the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). MATLAB Compiler
-startmsg Customizable user message displayed at initialization time. MATLAB Compiler Standalone Applications
-completemsg Customizable user message displayed when initialization is complete. MATLAB Compiler Standalone Applications

There are more options, but you can see them in MATLAB’s Documentations

After this point you are likely to have a file (if running on a UNIX machine).

Make Executable Wrappers

At this point, you are to create one or two different executables such that they can submit the job to the cluster. If using two scripts, their functions are as follows:

  1. Master Script - The first script submits the jobs that are on the second script as qsub jobs
  2. Chain Script - The second script has chain jobs such that would in turn run the executables created previously

echo "Message to yourself. Hello!"
qsub -N "Title_For_Cluster" working/directory/of/chain/script/

#PBS -q batch
#PBS -d /working/directory/where/compiled/script/is/located/
#PBS -o outputFolder
#PBS -e errorFolder
#PBS -l nodes=1:ppn=4:pascal,walltime=168:00:00

"$workDir" /opt/matlab/MCR/2017b/

In the example above, the sends a qsub job that will be named ‘Title_For_Cluster’. The job that is being sent is the

The is the one that runs your executable compiled script. Remember how we compiled a script that is called That will now be run. However, with MATLAB, you need to specify the location of matlab*. In this case, it is at /opt/matlab/MCR/2017b/

The #PBS is not hashtag phosphate buffered saline. We’re done with that. It stands for Portable Batch System(PBS)

The -q flag defines the destination of the job. It may be batch or gpu. The -o flag defines the path to be used for the standard output stream of the batch job. The -e flag defines the path to be used for the standard error stream of the batch job. The -d flag defines the path of the working directory. The -l flag defines the resources that are required by the job. It establishes a limit to the amount of resources that it can be consumed. In case this is not set, then the PBS scheduler uses the default values set by the system administrator.

In this case, it is nodes=1:ppn=4:pascal,walltime=168:00:00

  • nodes is the number of nodes that will be used;
  • ppn is the number of processors per node that will be used;
  • walltime is the maximum amount of time for which the job can run;
  • (Special:: pascal is the keyword that sends it to Beauty).

Ready? Set? Go!

Are you ready? Now just run the with bash!

$ bash

While waiting, you can check to see the status of your job by going to your Terminal and running

$ qstat

Job ID                    Name              User            Time Use S Queue
------------------------- ----------------  --------------- -------- - -----
19285.node0.cluster.crap  Title_For_Cluster username        22:00:56 R batch
19339.node1.mustard.crap  CrappyJob         MrCrap          23:07:16 R batch
19347.node2.plumber.crap  OhShit            MrFool          15:45:46 C batch
19379.node6.buster.crap   PleaseWork        MsUnhappy       07:55:29 R batch

In this example, since you are called username, that is the first job in the cluster. Its job ID is 19285. It has been running for 22:00:56, and its status (S) is R for running

MrFool’s job however has already been completed since the status is C for complete MsUnhappy in the other hand… is unhappy… That’s sad.

If you then go to the folder outputFolder/, you may later find a file called Title_For_Cluster.e19285, which will show the errors for your job. If you instead see Title_For_Cluster.o19285, it will show the outputs for your job.

Now, it’s time to debug!

Additional Resources

Here are a few additional resources