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Worker process information useful to gather #142

HenrikBengtsson opened this issue Apr 15, 2017 · 0 comments

Worker process information useful to gather #142

HenrikBengtsson opened this issue Apr 15, 2017 · 0 comments


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HenrikBengtsson commented Apr 15, 2017

When processing futures on in external R processes, it may be useful to the main/calling R process to have access to some information about that R process also before the future is resolved (cf. discussion in Issue #93), e.g.

  • R version
  • operating system
  • hostname and process ID (PID)
  • current working directory
  • ...

This information could be gathered as:

worker_info <- function() {
    r = c(R.version, os.type = .Platform$OS.type),
    system = as.list(,
    process = list(pid = Sys.getpid()) ,
    workdir = getwd()


> info <- worker_info()
> str(info)
List of 3
 $ r      :List of 15
  ..$ platform      : chr "x86_64-pc-linux-gnu"
  ..$ arch          : chr "x86_64"
  ..$ os            : chr "linux-gnu"
  ..$ system        : chr "x86_64, linux-gnu"
  ..$ status        : chr ""
  ..$ major         : chr "3"
  ..$ minor         : chr "3.3"
  ..$ year          : chr "2017"
  ..$ month         : chr "03"
  ..$ day           : chr "06"
  ..$ svn rev       : chr "72310"
  ..$ language      : chr "R"
  ..$ version.string: chr "R version 3.3.3 (2017-03-06)"
  ..$ nickname      : chr "Another Canoe"
  ..$ os.type       : chr "unix"
 $ system :List of 8
  ..$ sysname       : chr "Linux"
  ..$ release       : chr "4.4.0-72-generic"
  ..$ version       : chr "#93-Ubuntu SMP Fri Mar 31 14:07:41 UTC 2017"
  ..$ nodename      : chr "hb-x1"
  ..$ machine       : chr "x86_64"
  ..$ login         : chr "unknown"
  ..$ user          : chr "hb"
  ..$ effective_user: chr "hb"
 $ process:List of 1
  ..$ pid: int 4246

This information should be exposed in the Future API as an element of a Future object, e.g.

> f <- future(Sys.sleep(300))
> info <- f$worker

For persistent clusters such as the ones created by parallel::makePSOCKcluster() this information could be created once already at setup, e.g. plan(cluster, workers = cl). The function future::makeClusterPSOCK(), or more specifically, future::makeNodePSOCK() could even collect this information when setting up each worker and plan(cluster, workers = cl) could add it only if missing. Doing this already at setup would also have the advantage of making a first validation that the worker and the master can communicate properly (beyond setting up the connection). The disadvantage of gathering this information is a small additional overhead, but since these workers are persistent, that is they serve many futures, that should be a minor problem.

HenrikBengtsson added a commit that referenced this issue Apr 21, 2017
retrieving session information including the process ID from the
corresponding R process.  The same information is also collected by
plan(cluster) and plan(multisession) if not already available, e.g. when
parallel::makeCluster() is used instead.  This makes it possible to find
session information for a future that is not yet resolved.

(Issue #142)
HenrikBengtsson added a commit that referenced this issue Apr 25, 2017
… for makeClusterPSOCK(); introduced race condition - need more thoughts [#142]
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