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This page is actively maintained by the Grid'5000 team. If you encounter problems, please report them (see the Support page). Additionally, as it is a wiki page, you are free to make minor corrections yourself if needed. If you would like to suggest a more fundamental change, please contact the Grid'5000 team.


Submitit is a lightweight tool designed for submitting Python functions for computation within a Slurm cluster. It acts as a wrapper for submission and provides access to results, logs and more. Slurm, on the other hand, is an open-source, fault-tolerant, and highly scalable cluster management and job scheduling system suitable for both large and small Linux clusters. Submitit allows for seamless execution switching between Slurm or local environments. The source code, issues and pull requests can be found here.

To facilitate the switch between OAR and Slurm-based resource managers for users of Inria's national computing infrastructure, ongoing development efforts are focused on adding support for the OAR cluster in Submitit, through a plugin approach. The source code for the OAR plugin can be accessed here. A summary of the progress made, including implemented features and pending tasks can be found in this section.

Submitit and submitit_oar plugin installation

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Submitit and submitit_oar should be installed in a folder accessible by both the frontend and the nodes. For example, by installing it in your homedir, we are guaranteed that Submitit is available by both the frontend and the nodes.

Using pip

pip can be used to install the stable release of submitit and submitit_oar:

pip install --user submitit_oar==1.1.1

It is recommended to install python dependencies via a virtual environment. To do so, before running the pip command:

python3 -m venv env
source env/bin/activate
pip install submitit_oar==1.1.1

Basic usage

The example below shows the execution of an integer addition performed with the Submitit library. The AutoExecutor serves as the interface for submitting functions that are either executed on a cluster or on a local execution. It automatically detects the presence of a scheduler (such as OAR or Slurm). If no scheduler is detected, the function is executed locally on the machine.

import submitit

def add(a, b):
    return a + b

# logs are dumped in the folder
executor = submitit.AutoExecutor(folder="log_test", cluster="oar")

job_addition = executor.submit(add, 5, 7)  # will compute add(5, 7)
output = job_addition.result()  # waits for completion and returns output
# if ever the job failed, result() will raise an error with the corresponding trace
print('job_addition output: ', output)
assert output == 12

The example script needs to be launched on frontend as follow:


The execution of the submitit script will create the working folder (i.e., folder="log_test"), in which you will find the scheduler output files (i.e., jobId_log.out and jobId_log.err), the scheduler submission file, the submitit pickles (i.e., a task file jobId_submitted.pkl and the result jobId_result.pkl).

Note.png Note

The folder parameter is not mandatory. The value of this parameter represents the path of the working folder where the above files will be stored. If you don't specify it, the files will be saved in the current directory where you execute your script.

However, it is generally recommended to specify an explicit folder to avoid any conflicts with other files present in the current directory.

Note that this folder may grow rapidly, especially if you have large checkpoints (see checkpoint section for details) or if you submit lot of jobs. You should think about cleaning up the folder, and even better an automated way of cleaning it.

Advanced usage

Using parameters for specifying resources

For specifying resources (e.g., cores, memory, partition,...), you need to call the method update_parameters :

executor = submitit.AutoExecutor(folder="log_test", cluster="oar")
executor.update_parameters(slurm_partition="cpu_devel", oar_queue="default")
Note.png Note

Options for a given scheduler (i.e., prefixed by oar_ or slurm_) are ignored if the scheduler is not the good one. For instance, if slurm_partition is provided but the scheduler used is OAR, slurm_partition' is just ignored. Besides, parameters for specific scheduler are overwriting common parameters. For instance, if both oar_walltime and timeout_min are provided, then oar_walltime is used on OAR clusters (as timeout_min is a common parameter) while timeout_min is used on others (as oar_walltime is ignored)

The following table recaps the parameters supported (and unsupported) by AutoExecutor, OarExecutor and SlurmExecutor:

AutoExecutor OarExecutor SlurmExecutor Description
timeout_min walltime in hh:mm:ss time The duration of the job (minutes)
name n job_name The name of the job ('submitit' by default)
nodes nodes nodes The number of nodes (int)
oar_queue slurm_partition string
gpus_per_node gpu gpus_per_node or --gres=gpu:xx The number of GPUs available on each node (int)
stderr_to_stdout Fail.png stderr_to_stdout Redirect the error output on the standard one (boolean)
tasks_per_node Fail.png ntasks_per_node The maximun number of task run on each node (int)
cpus_per_task Fail.png cpus_per_task The number of CPUs dedicated for a task (int)
mem_gb Fail.png mem The amount of memory (string)
Fail.png slurm_array_parallelism Number of jobs executed in parallel simultaneously
additional_parameters Fail.png dict: other OAR parameters not available in submitit

The scheduler specific parameters can also be used with scheduler specific Executors, without the scheduler name prefixes. For instance, let's consider OarExecutor, you do not need to add oar_ before the parameters walltime or queue:

executor = submitit.OarExecutor(folder="log_test")
executor.update_parameters(walltime="0:0:5", queue="default")

Example with OarExecutor

In the example bellow, we want a job with a specific walltime that requires 1 GPU on the production queue, and is executed in besteffort mode.

import submitit

def add(a, b):
    return a + b

executor = submitit.AutoExecutor(folder="log_test", cluster="oar")
executor.update_parameters(oar_queue="production", oar_walltime="0:2:0", nodes=1, gpus_per_node=1, oar_additional_parameters={"t": "besteffort"})
job_addition = executor.submit(add, 5, 7)
output = job_addition.result()
print('job_addition output: ', output)
assert output == 12

If we check the submission file submitted to OAR, we can see all our requirements:


# Parameters
#OAR -E /home/ychi/submitit_env/log_test/%jobid%_0_log.err
#OAR -O /home/ychi/submitit_env/log_test/%jobid%_0_log.out
#OAR -l /nodes=1/gpu=1,walltime=0:2:0
#OAR -n submitit
#OAR -q production
#OAR -t besteffort

# command
/home/ychi/submitit_env/env/bin/python -u -m submitit.core._submit /home/ychi/submitit_env/log_test

Checkpointing with Submitit

The purpose of the checkpointing functionality is to allow the automatic resumption of a computation when the job is preempted by another. To so do, the current state of the job needs to be saved before the scheduler (e.g., OAR, Slurm) stops the job.

As explained more in detailed in the official submitit documentation, you need to:

  • define a class that implements the submitit.helpers.Checkpointable interface
  • implement a __call__ method that contains the computations code
  • implement a checkpoint method to save the current state of the computation
import submitit

class MyCheckpointableAlgorithm(submitit.helpers.Checkpointable):

    def __call__(self, ....):

    def checkpoint(self, *args, **kwargs):

if __name__ == "__main__":
    executor = submitit.AutoExecutor(folder)
    myAlgo = MyCheckpointableAlgorithm()

    job = executor.submit(myAlgo, ...)
    print('output: ', job.result())

The submitit documentation provides a complete example of implementing a checkpointing mechanism for a multinomial logistic regression based on the Scikit-learn library.

Slurm and OAR mechanisms for resuming preempted jobs

OAR and Slurm do not provides the same strategy for implementing the resumption of a preempted job:

  • For the Slurm scheduler, there is the possibility to requeue the current job directly from the node by executing the command scontrol requeue jobId (see requeue description in the scontrol man page for more information).
  • For the OAR scheduler, there are two possibilities: either requeuing the job by executing oarsub --resubmit=origin_job_id (note that the oarsub command is not available on the nodes), or activating an automatic requeuing mechanism by submitting the original job with the idempotent type.
Note.png Note

For the OAR scheduler, the automatic requeuing mechanism using idempotent jobs only works if the job is preempted after running at least 60 seconds. If the preemption occurs before 60 seconds, the OAR scheduler considers the job not viable and stops it without requeuing.

How to implement the checkpointing mechanism

As explained in the previous section, to implement a checkpointing mechanism with Submitit, you need to :

  • In the __call__ method:
    • If the OAR scheduler is used, you should wait for 60 seconds to ensure that when the computation starts, your job will be rescheduled if it is preempted.
    • Check if an existing state is stored on the persistent storage and retrieve it.
  • In the checkpointing method:
    • Save the state of your computation in the checkpointing method (e.g., files on a persistent storage).
    • Conclude the method by returning super().checkpoint(*args, **kwargs), which will create a DelayedSubmission object corresponding the requeued job.
Template for Slurm
def __call__(self, ....):
    ... # Retrieve a potential existing state
    ... # Start computation

def checkpoint(self, *args: Any, **kwargs: Any) -> submitit.helpers.DelayedSubmission:
    ... # Save current computation state
    return super().checkpoint(*args, **kwargs)
Template for OAR
def __call__(self, ....):
    # wait 60s at first to ensure that the checkpointing mechanism is working
    ... # Retrieve a potential existing state
    ... # Start computation

def checkpoint(self, *args: Any, **kwargs: Any) -> submitit.helpers.DelayedSubmission:
    ... # Save current computation state
    return super().checkpoint(*args, **kwargs)

How to simulate a preemption

If you want to test that the checkpointing mechanism is working properly with your algorithm, you can simulate a preemption by calling the _interrupt() method. The call to _interrupt() should be made after the job starts (i.e., in the running state) and after waiting for a couple of seconds to ensure the computation has started. Here is an example:

job = ex.submit(myAlgo, ...)

# Wait for the job to be running
while job.state() != "RUNNING":

# Wait for 60s to let the algorithm run for a while

# Simulate preemption

# Get the result
result = job.result()
print(f"Result: {result}")

To validate the good execution of the checkpointing, you should:

  • Check the scheduler to see that the job was stopped and then restarted.
  • Check the output of your algorithm to see that the computation was saved and restarted not from the beginning.

Job array with Submitit

If you need to start n times the same computation or need to execute n times the same algorithm with different parameter, submitit implement a dedicated functionality for such a usage case: Job Array. This functionnality leverages the Slurm or OAR job array feature. You should use job arrays as it is faster than submitted all jobs independently (as all jobs are submitted in a unique call to the scheduler).

To use job arrays with submitit, you need to call the executor.map_array method. The example bellow shows how to execute 4 different additions (i.e., same algorithm applied with four distinct sets of parameter pairs: 1+10; 2+20; 3+30; 4+40):

import submitit

def add(a, b):
    return a + b

a = [1, 2, 3, 4]
b = [10, 20, 30, 40]
executor = submitit.AutoExecutor(folder="log_test", cluster="oar")
jobs = executor.map_array(add, a, b)
# Iterate over the 4 jobs and print their results
for job in jobs:
    print("Job: ", job.job_id, " result: ", job.result())

The output is as follow:

Job:  1948179  result:  11
Job:  1948180  result:  22
Job:  1948178  result:  33
Job:  1948181  result:  44
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Unlike the SlurmExecutor with slurm_array_parallelism parameter, the OarExecutor does not provide a parameter to limit the number of jobs executed simultaneously.

Note.png Note

As explained in the submitit documentation, one pickle file is created for each job of an array. If you have big object in your functions (like a full pytorch model) you should serialize it once and only pass its path to the submitted function.

You can refer to this page to see how Submitit allows the job arrays submission through a context manager.

Other advanced submitit features

Submitit provides advanced features like:

  • Concurrent job executions (example available here)
  • Multi-threading executions with ThreadPoolExecutor (example available here)
  • Integration with Asyncio for asynchronous job execution (example available here)

Current status of the OAR executor

The current OarExecutor implementation does not cover all Submitit features. For now, it includes:

  • Submission of functions
  • Error handling and recording of stack traces with job.result()
  • Checkpointing of stateful callables and automatic resubmission from current state when preempted
  • Job arrays
  • Concurrent jobs
  • Asyncio coroutines

The following features are not currently supported: