[GE users] SMP idea for containing multithreading

Chris Jewell chris.jewell at warwick.ac.uk
Sun Nov 2 23:39:14 GMT 2008

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Hi all,

We're looking at a new cluster in my department for mini-HPC purposes.
I'm interested in using GE as it provides a nice way for users to invoke
interactive shells, whilst retaining load-balancing and control of
oversubscription (in the way that SSI platforms, eg Kerrighed, don't).
Although most of the users will be using software like R and Matlab
which (to the best of my knowledge) are serial applications, I envisage
an increase in the use of multithreaded software.  My experience of GE
is that it can work well for SMP applications where a job requires the
maximum number of processors on a node, but for jobs with fewer
/requested/ processors, threads can still spawn across an entire
execution node.  So, firstly, is there a standard way of limiting the
number of processors that a user's job can use /on the execution node/?
I'm suspecting no...?

So, an idea I had was to get SGE to spawn a virtual host on the
execution node that uses the requested number of processors.  Then, the
job would be sandboxed in to however many processors are assigned to the
virtual host.  However, I have never messed about with virtual hosts in
an HPC environment, so I really don't know what the performance issues
might be.  I wonder if any of you, with greater knowledge on these
things than myself, would care to comment?



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