Skip to content

Job Scheduling Policy

Login Nodes are for Interactive, Non-intensive Work Only

Many users are logged into the login nodes of the H2P and HTC clusters at the same time. These are the gateways everyone uses to perform interactive work like editing code, submitting and checking the status of jobs, etc.

Executing processing scripts or commands on these nodes can cause substantial slowdowns for the rest of the users. For this reason, it is important to make sure that this kind of work is done in either an interactive session on a node from one of the clusters, or as a batch job submission.

Resource-intensive processes found to be running on the login nodes may be killed at anytime.

The CRC team reserves the right to revoke cluster access of any user who repeatedly causes slowdowns on the login nodes with processes that can otherwise be run on the compute nodes.


Jobs are Subject to Priority Queueing

There are settings in place within the Slurm Workload Manager that allow all groups (and users within those groups) to have equal opportunity to run calculations. This concept is called “Fair Share”. The fair share is a multiplicative factor in computing a job’s “Priority”. At Pitt, we use a multi-factor priority system which includes:

Age [0,1] – Length of time the job been in the queue and eligible to be scheduled. Longer time spent in the queue recieves higher priority. The maximum is attained at a queue time of 7 days. The priority weight for age is 2000.

Job Size [0,1] – Required Nodes, CPUs, and Memory usage. Larger requests receive increased priority. The maximum corresponds to using all the resources on the cluster. The priority weight for job size is 2000.

Quality of Service (QOS) [0,1] - Factor based on the Walltime of the job. Normalized to the highest (short QOS). The priority weight for QOS is 2000.

Name Priority QOS Factor Max Walltime (D-HH:MM:SS)
Short 13 1.00 3-00:00:00
Normal 12 0.92 3-00:00:00
Long 11 0.84 6-00:00:00
Long-long (on SMP and HTC) 10 0.76 21-00:00:00

Note: Due to the high volume nature of the work done on HTC, it's short, normal, and long QOS have a maximum number of submissions per user set to 6000, 5000, and 4000 respectively.

Fair Share [0,1] - A metric for overall usage by allocation that prioritizes jobs from under serviced slurm accounts. Less overall cluster use receives higher priority. The priority weight for fairshare is 3000.

Priority is computed as a sum of the individual factors multiplied by their priority weights. Higher priorities will be assigned resources first. Your jobs may receive pending status with Priority as the reason.

Checking Job Priority

You can use the sprio slurm utility to see the priority of your jobs

[nlc60@login0b ~] : sprio -M smp -u nlc60 -j 6136016
  JOBID PARTITION     USER   PRIORITY       SITE        AGE  FAIRSHARE    JOBSIZE        QOS                 
6136016 smp          nlc60       2272          0          0        269          4       2000

Walltime Extensions will generally not be Granted

It is up to the job submitter to determine the demands of their job through some benchmarking before submitting, perform any necessary code optimization, and to then specify the memory, cpu, and time requirements accordingly. This ensures that the job is queued with respect to FairShare, and that CRC resources utilized by a job are available to other users within a reasonable time frame.

Exceeding Usage Limits will cause Job Pending Status

After submission, a job can appear with a "status" of "PD" (not running).

There are various reasons that Slurm will put your job in a pending state. Some common explanations are listed below.

Reason Explanation Resolution
Resources The cluster is busy and no resources are currently available for your job. Your job will run as soon as the resources requested become available
Priority See section on job priority Your job will run as soon as it has reached a high enough priority
Dependency A job cannot start until another job is finished. This only happens if you included a "--dependency" directive in your Slurm script. Wait until the job that you have marked as a dependency is finished, then your job will run
DependencyNeverSatisfied A job cannot start because another job on which it depends failed Please cancel this job, as it will never be able to run. You will need to resolve the issues in the job that has been marked as a dependency.

JobArrayTaskLimit, QOSMaxJobsPerUserLimit and QOSMaxJobsPerAccountLimit

One or more of your jobs have exceeded limits in place on the number of jobs you can have in the queue that are actively accruing priority. Jobs with this status will remain in the queue, but will not being accruing priority until other jobs from the submitting user have completed.

In most cases the per-account limit is 500 jobs, and the per-user limit is 100 jobs. You can use sacctmgr show qos format=Name%20,MaxJobsPA,MaxJobsPU,MaxSubmitJobsPA,MaxSubmitJobsPU,MaxTresPA%20 to view the limits for any given QOS.

The maximum job array size is 100 on SMP, MPI, and HTC. The array size limits are defined at the cluster configuration level:

[nlc60@login1 ~] : for cluster in smp mpi gpu htc; do echo $cluster; scontrol -M $cluster show config | grep MaxArraySize; done
MaxArraySize            = 100
MaxArraySize            = 100
MaxArraySize            = 1001
MaxArraySize            = 100

These limits exist to prevent users who batch submit large quantities of jobs in a loop or job array from having all of their jobs at a higher priority than one-off submissions simply due to having submitted them all at once.

A hard limit on the maximum number of submitted jobs (including in a job array) is 1000. This separate limit exists to prevent any one user from overwhelming the workload manager with a singular, very large request for resources.


The job exceeds the current within-group memory quota. The maximum quota available depends on the cluster and partition. The table below gives the maximum memory (in GB) for each QOS in the clusters/partitions it is defined.

Cluster Partition Short Normal Long
smp smp 13247 11044 9999
legacy 620 620 620
high-mem 6512 6512 6512

If you find yourself consistently running into this issue, you can use the seff tool to determine the efficiency of your completed jobs:

[nlc60@login0b ~] : srun -M CLUSTER_JOB_RAN_ON seff YOUR_JOBID
    srun: job INTERACTIVE_SESSION_JOBID queued and waiting for resources
    srun: job INTERACTIVE_SESSION_JOBID has been allocated resources
    State: TIMEOUT (exit code 0)
    Cores: 1
    CPU Utilized: 6-00:00:52
    CPU Efficiency: 100.01% of 6-00:00:19 core-walltime
    Job Wall-clock time: 6-00:00:19
    Memory Utilized: 128.58 GB
    Memory Efficiency: 14.29% of 900.00 GB


MaxTRESPerAccount, MaxCpuPerAccount, or MaxGRESPerAccount

In the table below, the group based CPU (GPUs for the gpu cluster) limits are presented for each QOS walltime length. If your group requests more CPU/GPUs than in this table you will be forced to wait until your group's jobs finish.

Cluster Partition Short QOS (1 Day) Normal QOS (3 Days) Long QOS (6 Days) Long-long QOS (21 Days)
smp smp 2304 1613 1152 461
high-mem 320 224 160 64
gpu gtx1080 32 20 14
a100 16 12 8
a100_multi 32 24 8
a100_nvlink 24 16 8
mpi opa-high-mem 504 353 252
mpi 3264 2285 1632
htc htc 1216 852 608 307