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Batch System (HTCondor)


The PPE group maintains an HTCondor cluster for running batch jobs. This system is currently in its development phase, but it is expected it will replace the much older PBS batch system in the future. You are welcome to submit jobs to the Condor cluster, but please be aware that machines may be reconfigured and rebooted without warning while the system is being commissioned.

The current composition of the batch system is as follows:

Nodes Operating System Total CPU Cores
node004 CentOS 7 32

The Condor central manager (the closest thing it has to a headnode) is

HTCondor was known as Condor prior to 2012, when threatened legal action forced a change of name. It is still commonly referred to as simply "Condor", and you will find both names used interchangeably in this document.


HTCondor does not have queues in the way that PBS does. Instead, jobs are submitted to the Condor pool and then matched to appropriate resources based on their individual requirements.

Job Prioritisation

The cluster is configured with a fair-share scheduler, which aims to distribute compute time fairly among users. When multiple users are competing for resources, preference will be shown to users whose recent usage has been lower.

Running jobs can be pre-empted by newly-submitted jobs with a higher priority. Pre-empted jobs will either be suspended or evicted. A suspended job remains on the node on which it was running, but is no longer executed; once the pre-empting job has finished, the pre-empted job will be allowed to continue. An evicted job is terminated and re-queued for execution at a later time.

Using HTCondor

Unlike PBS, which has a central server and multiple client machines, HTCondor features a distributed architecture. Jobs can be submitted from the central manager or from any machine running the scheduler daemon, which includes most Linux desktops. The job history which is reported by condor_history provides information for jobs submitted via the scheduler on the local machine (rather than across the whole pool), so it is a good idea to use a single machine for job submission. Running jobs must also communicate periodically with the submission machine.

You may find it easiest to submit jobs by first logging into

Create a submit description file

Jobs are defined using a submit description file, which contains commands which tell HTCondor how to queue the job. These commands are analogous to the lines in a PBS submission script which began with the #PBS prefix and contained directives used by PBS when queuing the job.

A simple submit description file might look like the following:

universe       = vanilla
executable     =
input          =
output         = test.out
error          = test.error             
log            = test.log


This will run the executable in a manner similar to the following:

./ < > test.out 2> test.error

The log file (test.log in this example) will contain logging information provided by Condor.

Further information can be found in the Condor documentation:

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Topic revision: r1 - 2017-05-11 - GordonStewart
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