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Using the Cluster

ILRI's high-performance computing "cluster" is currently composed of 7 dedicated machines:

  • hpc: main login node, "master" of the cluster
  • taurus, compute2, compute04: used for batch and interactive jobs like BLAST, structure, R, etc (compute04 has lots of disk space under its /var/scratch)
  • mammoth: used for high-memory jobs like genome assembly (mira, newbler, abyss, etc)
  • compute03: fast CPUs, but few of them
  • compute05: batch jobs, has the fastest processors (AMD EPYC)

To get access to the cluster you should talk to Jean-Baka (he sits in BecA). Once you have access you should read up on SLURM so you can learn how to submit jobs to the cluster.

How to Connect to the Cluster

In order to launch computations on the HPC or even just to view files residing in its storage infrastructure, users must use the SSH protocol. Through this protocol, users gain command-line access to the HPC from an SSH client software installed on their own machine (e.g. a laptop, desktop or smartphone). Depending on the operating system you are using on the computer from which you want to establish the connection, the procedure differs:

If you are running MacOSX (on Apple computers) or any GNU/Linux distribution

Those operating systems are part of the large family of UNIX systems, that almost invariably contain an already-installed SSH client, most often some flavor of the OpenSSH client. Just open a terminal emulator and run the command ssh, where your replace username with your own username on the HPC (as communicated by the person who created your account there).

If this doesn't work, then you probably have to install an ssh client. It suffices to install the SSH client only, no need for the SSH server, that would be useful only if you want to allow remote connections to your computer. For instance, you can read about instructions to install openssh-client on Ubuntu GNU/Linux.

Cluster Organization

The cluster is arranged in a master/slave configuration; users log into HPC (the master) and use it as a "jumping off point" to the rest of the cluster. Here's a diagram of the topology. For each server, we mention the number of CPUs and the year it was commissioned:

Detailed Information

Machine Specifications Uses 1 hour status
taurus116 GB RAM
64 CPUs
batch and interactive jobs
Good for BLAST, structure, R, admixture, etc.
mammoth 516 GB RAM
8 CPUs
batch and high-memory jobs
Good for genome assembly (mira, newbler, abyss, etc)
compute2 132 GB RAM
64 CPUs
batch and interactive jobs
Good for BLAST, structure, R, etc.
compute03 442 GB RAM
8 CPUs
batch and high-memory jobs
Good for genome assembly (mira, newbler, abyss, etc), mothur
compute04 48 GB RAM
8 CPUs
10TB scratch
batch jobs
Good for BLAST, structure, R, etc, that need lots of local disk space (/var/scratch/)
compute05 384 GB RAM
48 CPUs
1.6TB scratch
batch jobs
Most recent AMD EPYC CPUs, good for BLAST, structure, R, etc


At the moment we don't backup users' data in their respective home folders. We therefore advise users to have their own backups.

using-the-cluster.1584622148.txt.gz · Last modified: 2020/03/19 12:49 by jean-baka