Central Processor Platform


The ASKAP Central Processor platform consists of a Cray XC30 supercomputer and a 1.4PB Cray Sonexion storage system mounted as a Lustre filesystem.

  • 2 x Login Nodes:
    • 2 x 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2665 (Sandy Bridge) CPUs
    • 64 GB RAM
    • 4x QDR Infiniband connectivity to Lustre filesystem
  • 472 x Cray XC30 Compute Nodes:
    • 2 x 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2690 v2 (Ivy Bridge) CPUs
    • 10 Cores per CPU (20 per node)
    • 64GB DDR3-1866Mhz RAM
    • Cray Aries (Dragonfly Topology) Interconnect
  • 16 x Ingest Nodes
    • 2 x 2.0 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2650 (Sandy Bridge) CPUs
    • 64GB RAM
    • 10 GbE connectivity to MRO
    • 4x QDR Infiniband connectivity to compute nodes and Lustre filesystem
  • 2 x Data Mover Nodes (for external connectivity)
    • 2 x 2.0 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2650 (Sandy Bridge) CPUs
    • 64GB RAM
    • 10 GbE connectivity to Pawsey border router
    • 4x QDR Infiniband connectivity to Lustre filesystem
  • High-Performance Storage
    • 1.4PB Lustre Filesystem
    • Approximately 25GB/s I/O performance


To login to the ASKAP Central Processor:

ssh abc123@galaxy.pawsey.org.au

Where abc123 is the login name Pawsey gave you. In that case that your CSIRO login differs from your Pawsey login, and to avoid having to specify the username each time, you can add the following to your ~/.ssh/config file:

Host *.pawsey.org.au
  User abc123

If you intend running the ASKAP pipelines (see User Parameters - Data Location & Beam Selection), it is best to set up an SSH key for your Pawsey account. This will allow you to connect to other Pawsey machines (including hpc-data, which is used within the pipeline scripts) without having to provide a password. This can be done by using ssh-keygen to create id_dsa.pub and id_dsa files in your ~/.ssh directory.

Setting up your account

There are a number of ASKAP-specific environment modules available (see Environment Modules for details). To access them, add the following to your ~/.bashrc file.

# Use the ASKAP environment modules collection
module use /group/askap/modulefiles

# Load the ASKAPsoft module
module load askapsoft

# Load the ASKAP pipeline scripts module
module load askappipeline

# Load the measures data
module load askapdata

# Load some general utility functions
module load askaputils

# Load the BBCP module for fast external data transfer
module load bbcp

# Allow MPICH to fallback to 4k pages if large pages cannot be allocated

The following was previously suggested, although the pshell utility provided by askaputils is probably better. The ashell module is kept for backwards-compatibility reasons only, but if you already have scripts using it then including this in your .bashrc is advised.

# Load the "ashell" module for access to the commissioning archive
module load ashell

Local Filesystems

You have two filesystems available to you:

  • Your home directory
  • The scratch2 filesystem, where you have a directory /scratch2/askap/$USER
  • The group filesystem, where you have a directory /group/askap/$USER

The scratch filesystem should be used for executing your processing jobs. Specifically bulk data (measurement sets, images, etc) to be read from the job, and all output written, should be from/to the scratch filesystem. The scratch filesystem is subject to a purge policy and so you should move any data you need to retain from this filesystem to another area. See scratch2 Purge Policy for advice.

The group filesystem is a smaller filesystem where you can store data sets or data products, however, this has quotas applied at the group level. e.g. askap group has a quota of 90TB.

Note that your home directory, while it can be read from the compute nodes, cannot be written to from the compute nodes. It is mounted read-only on the compute nodes to prevent users from being able to “clobber” the home directory server with thousands of concurrent I/Os from compute nodes.

In addition to /scratch2 and /group there is another filesystem, /astro, which is reserved for real-time use by the askap system. /astro has restricted access and is intended for ASKAP operations to write scheduling blocks and for processing pipelines to read them. All non-askap-system write operations are to be to /scratch2.

Submitting a job:

This section describes the job execution environment on the ASKAP Central Processor. The system uses SLURM for Job scheduling, however the below examples use a Cray specific customisation to declare the resources required. An example slurm file is:

#!/bin/bash -l
#SBATCH --time=01:00:00
#SBATCH --ntasks=80
#SBATCH --ntasks-per-node=20
#SBATCH --job-name=myjobname
#SBATCH --no-requeue
#SBATCH --export=NONE

aprun -B ./myprogram

Note the use of aprun instead of mpirun. The -B option to aprun tells ALPS (the Application Level Placement Scheduler) to reuse the width, depth, nppn and memory requests specified with the corresponding batch reservation.

Specifically, the following part of the above file requests 80 processing elements (PE) to be created. A PE is just a process. The parameter ntasks-per-node says to execute 20 PEs per node, so this job will require 4 nodes (80/20=4):

#SBATCH --ntasks=80
#SBATCH --ntasks-per-node=20

Then to submit the job:

sbatch myjob.slurm

Submitting jobs with dependencies

It may often be the case that you will want to submit a job that depends on another job for valid input (for instance, you want to calibrate a measurement set that is being split from a larger measurement set via mssplit).

The sbatch command allows the specification of dependencies, which act as prior conditions for the job you are submitting to actually run in the queue. The syntax is:

sbatch -d afterok:1234 myjob.slurm

The “-d” flag indicates a dependency, and the afterok: option indicates that the job being submitted (myjob.qsub) will only be run after job with ID 1234 completes successfully. There are other options available - see the man page for sbatch for details.

The ID of a job is available from running squeue. If you are running a script that involves submitting a string of inter-dependent programs, you may want to capture the ID string from sbatch’s output. When you run sbatch, you get something like this:

> sbatch myjob.slurm
Submitted batch job 1234

which you could parse using something like the following (this would run in a bash script - adapt accordingly for your scripting language of choice):

JOB_ID=`sbatch myjob.slurm | awk '{print $4}'`

And you would then use that environment variable in the dependency option:

sbatch -d afterok:${JOB_ID} myjob.slurm

Other example resource specifications

The following example launches a job with a number of PEs that is not a multiple of ntasks-per-node, in this case 22 PEs:

#!/bin/bash -l
#SBATCH --time=01:00:00
#SBATCH --ntasks=22
#SBATCH --ntasks-per-node=20
#SBATCH --job-name=myjobname
#SBATCH --no-requeue
#SBATCH --export=NONE

aprun -n 22 -N 20 ./myprogram

Note that instead of passing “-B”, which says use the numbers from ntasks & ntasks-per-node, you must pass “-n” and “-N” specifically. Using the “-B” option only works if ntasks is divisible by ntasks-per-node.

OpenMP Programs:

The following example launches a job with 20 OpenMP threads per process (although there is only one process). The cpus-per-task option declares the number of threads to be allocated per process. The below example starts a single PE with 20 threads:

#!/bin/bash -l
#SBATCH --time=00:30:00
#SBATCH --ntasks=1
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=20
#SBATCH --job-name=myjobname
#SBATCH --export=NONE

# Instructs OpenMP to use 20 threads

aprun -B ./my_openmp_program

Monitoring job status

To see your incomplete jobs:

squeue -u $USER

Sometimes it is useful to see the entire queue, particularly when your job is queued and you wish to see how busy the system is. The following commands show running jobs:


And to display accounting information, that includes completed jobs, the following command can be used:


Cancelling a job

If you wish to cancel a job that is running, or still in the queue, you use the scancel command together with the job ID:

scancel 1234

Any jobs that depend on this one (see above) should also get cancelled at the same time.