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Conference call notes 20140225

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(back to Conference calls)

Notes on the 8th EasyBuild conference call, Tuesday Feb. 25th 2014 (10pm - 10.40pm CET)


Alphabetical list of attendees (7):

  • Geert Jan Bex (UHasselt (VSC partner), Belgium)
  • Pablo Escobar (University of Basel, Switzerland)
  • Fotis Georgatos (University of Luxembourg)
  • Kenneth Hoste (HPC-UGent, Belgium)
  • Peter Maxwell (NeSI, New Zealand)
  • Robert McLay (Lmod developer, TACC - University of Texas at Austin)
  • Ward Poelmans (UGent, Belgium)


  • issues w.r.t. multiple EasyBuild users
  • integration with Lmod and SLURM
  • best way of creating/changing Makefiles (e.g. OpenSees)


Issues w.r.t. multiple EasyBuild users
  • Jordi: sharing an install target with multiple EasyBuild users leads to problems
    • conflicts, ACLs, permissions
  • Kenneth: this was solved at JSC by:
    • setting umask properly
    • using a sticky bit on the top install directory such that new files/directories have the required permissions
  • Geert Jan: solved at UHasselt by restricting access to only people who are in a dedicated EasyBuild group, and then providing the group write permissions on the directory (775 policy)
  • problems are external to EasyBuild
  • we should create a dedicated wiki page that describes solutions to problems related to sharing an install target
Integration with Lmod
  • Peter: wondering about integration of Lmod and EasyBuild, goal would be to provide users with nice short module names
  • Kenneth: some work was done last week during the hackathon @ JSC on using a hierarchical module naming scheme
  • remarks Robert
    • Lmod does not (and will not) support multiple versions in module names (referring to post by Peter Maxwell on Lmod mailing list)
    • anything beyond compiler and MPI library is set as a prerequisite (e.g. OpenBLAS, etc.), but only one BLAS/LAPACK is used for a particular software package at TACC
    • matrix support (full equivalent of toolchains in EasyBuild) for Lmod is being thought through
    • definition of toolchains is not clear, more/better examples are required to make things click
    • one issue is that there's no 1-to-1 mapping of BLAS/LAPACK/FFTW modules, e.g. OpenBLAS+FFTW vs Intel MKL
    • a new way for generating a module file from a script that should be sourced is available, after env2 turned out to be (too) broken, cfr. sh_to_modulefile Lmod command (available in Lmod v5.3.1 and up)
Integration with SLURM (--job)
  • Jordi: initial steps done in
  • Kenneth: should be thrown out, support for submitting jobs should be rewritten
    • abstract class ResourceManager with subclasses Pbs, Slurm, etc.
    • main method something like submit_job(script, job_deps=[], submit_args='')
  • Jordi/Fotis: support for submitting to a particular partition would be nice
  • Fotis: having a mechanism to specify job features based on software name or toolchain would be nice
    • goolfc => GPGPU nodes, ATLAS => full node build required due to autotuning
  • Robert: Lmod supports the notion of attributes in module files, e.g. to indicate certain characteristics of the software being provided (e.g. MIC-enabled)
Install target: local directory vs shared filesystem

(spinoff of SLURM discussion)

  • Robert: TACC packages builds in RPMs on dedicated build hosts, that are then deployed to the production systems
    • providing software through a shared filesystem would not work on a system the size of Stampede
    • exposing (new) builds directly to the users might not be a good idea
    • modules can be installed 'hidden', i.e. name starts with a . (e.g. .foo/1.0): they will not show up in module avail, but can be loaded
  • Fotis: one other way (used at is via buildsets, i.e. new install targets being prepared, actual switch to production happens during maintenance
    • users are able to use the next future production buildset early on, and are able to fall back on an old one
Best way of creating/changing Makefiles
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