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prun(1) man page (version 3.1.6)

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prun - Execute serial and parallel jobs with the PMIx Reference Server.


Single Process Multiple Data (SPMD) Model:

prun [ options ] <program> [ <args> ]

Multiple Instruction Multiple Data (MIMD) Model:

prun [ global_options ] [ local_options1 ]
<program1> [ <args1> ] : [ local_options2 ]
<program2> [ <args2> ] : ... :
[ local_optionsN ]
<programN> [ <argsN> ]

Note that in both models, invoking prun via an absolute path name is equivalent to specifying the --prefix option with a <dir> value equivalent to the directory where prun resides, minus its last subdirectory. For example:

% /usr/local/bin/prun ...

is equivalent to

% prun --prefix /usr/local

Quick Summary

If you are simply looking for how to run an application, you probably want to use a command line of the following form:

% prun [ -np X ] [ --hostfile <filename> ] <program>

This will run X copies of <program> in your current run-time environment (if running under a supported resource manager, PSRVR’s prun will usually automatically use the corresponding resource manager process starter, as opposed to, for example, rsh or ssh, which require the use of a hostfile, or will default to running all X copies on the localhost), scheduling (by default) in a round-robin fashion by CPU slot. See the rest of this page for more details.

Please note that prun automatically binds processes. Three binding patterns are used in the absence of any further directives:

Bind to core:
when the number of processes is <= 2
Bind to socket:
when the number of processes is > 2
Bind to none:
when oversubscribed

If your application uses threads, then you probably want to ensure that you are either not bound at all (by specifying --bind-to none), or bound to multiple cores using an appropriate binding level or specific number of processing elements per application process.


prun will send the name of the directory where it was invoked on the local node to each of the remote nodes, and attempt to change to that directory. See the "Current Working Directory" section below for further details.
The program executable. This is identified as the first non-recognized argument to prun.
Pass these run-time arguments to every new process. These must always be the last arguments to prun. If an app context file is used, <args> will be ignored.
-h, --help
Display help for this command
-q, --quiet
Suppress informative messages from prun during application execution.
-v, --verbose
Be verbose
-V, --version
Print version number. If no other arguments are given, this will also cause prun to exit.
-N <num>

Launch num processes per node on all allocated nodes (synonym for npernode).
-display-map, --display-map
Display a table showing the mapped location of each process prior to launch.
-display-allocation, --display-allocation
Display the detected resource allocation.
-output-proctable, --output-proctable
Output the debugger proctable after launch.
-max-vm-size, --max-vm-size <size>
Number of processes to run.
-novm, --novm
Execute without creating an allocation-spanning virtual machine (only start daemons on nodes hosting application procs).
-hnp, --hnp <arg0>
Specify the URI of the psrvr process, or the name of the file (specified as file:filename) that contains that info.

Use one of the following options to specify which hosts (nodes) within the psrvr to run on.

-H, -host, --host <host1,host2,...,hostN>
List of hosts on which to invoke processes.
-hostfile, --hostfile <hostfile>
Provide a hostfile to use.
-default-hostfile, --default-hostfile <hostfile>
Provide a default hostfile.
-machinefile, --machinefile <machinefile>
Synonym for -hostfile.
-cpu-set, --cpu-set <list>
Restrict launched processes to the specified logical cpus on each node (comma-separated list). Note that the binding options will still apply within the specified envelope - e.g., you can elect to bind each process to only one cpu within the specified cpu set.

The following options specify the number of processes to launch. Note that none of the options imply a particular binding policy - e.g., requesting N processes for each socket does not imply that the processes will be bound to the socket.

-c, -n, --n, -np <#>
Run this many copies of the program on the given nodes. This option indicates that the specified file is an executable program and not an application context. If no value is provided for the number of copies to execute (i.e., neither the "-np" nor its synonyms are provided on the command line), prun will automatically execute a copy of the program on each process slot (see below for description of a "process slot"). This feature, however, can only be used in the SPMD model and will return an error (without beginning execution of the application) otherwise. -<>
  • Launch N times the number of objects of the specified type on each node.
  • -npersocket, --npersocket <#persocket>
    On each node, launch this many processes times the number of processor sockets on the node. The -npersocket option also turns on the -bind-to-socket option. (deprecated in favor of --map-by ppr:n:socket)
    -npernode, --npernode <#pernode>
    On each node, launch this many processes. (deprecated in favor of --map-by ppr:n:node)
    -pernode, --pernode
    On each node, launch one process -- equivalent to -npernode 1. (deprecated in favor of --map-by ppr:1:node)

    To map processes:

    --map-by <foo>
    Map to the specified object, defaults to socket. Supported options include slot, hwthread, core, L1cache, L2cache, L3cache, socket, numa, board, node, sequential, distance, and ppr. Any object can include modifiers by adding a : and any combination of PE=n (bind n processing elements to each proc), SPAN (load balance the processes across the allocation), OVERSUBSCRIBE (allow more processes on a node than processing elements), and NOOVERSUBSCRIBE. This includes PPR, where the pattern would be terminated by another colon to separate it from the modifiers.
    -bycore, --bycore
    Map processes by core (deprecated in favor of --map-by core)
    -byslot, --byslot
    Map and rank processes round-robin by slot.
    -nolocal, --nolocal
    Do not run any copies of the launched application on the same node as prun is running. This option will override listing the localhost with --host or any other host-specifying mechanism.
    -nooversubscribe, --nooversubscribe
    Do not oversubscribe any nodes; error (without starting any processes) if the requested number of processes would cause oversubscription. This option implicitly sets "max_slots" equal to the "slots" value for each node. (Enabled by default).
    -oversubscribe, --oversubscribe
    Nodes are allowed to be oversubscribed, even on a managed system, and overloading of processing elements.
    -bynode, --bynode
    Launch processes one per node, cycling by node in a round-robin fashion. This spreads processes evenly among nodes and assigns ranks in a round-robin, "by node" manner.
    -cpu-list, --cpu-list <cpus>
    List of processor IDs to bind processes to [default=NULL].

    To order processes’ ranks:

    --rank-by <foo>
    Rank in round-robin fashion according to the specified object, defaults to slot. Supported options include slot, hwthread, core, L1cache, L2cache, L3cache, socket, numa, board, and node.

    For process binding:

    --bind-to <foo>
    Bind processes to the specified object, defaults to core. Supported options include slot, hwthread, core, l1cache, l2cache, l3cache, socket, numa, board, and none.
    -cpus-per-proc, --cpus-per-proc <#perproc>
    Bind each process to the specified number of cpus. (deprecated in favor of --map-by <obj>:PE=n)
    -cpus-per-rank, --cpus-per-rank <#perrank>
    Alias for -cpus-per-proc. (deprecated in favor of --map-by <obj>:PE=n)
    -bind-to-core, --bind-to-core
    Bind processes to cores (deprecated in favor of --bind-to core)
    -bind-to-socket, --bind-to-socket
    Bind processes to processor sockets (deprecated in favor of --bind-to socket)
    -report-bindings, --report-bindings
    Report any bindings for launched processes.

    For rankfiles:

    -rf, --rankfile <rankfile>
    Provide a rankfile file.

    To manage standard I/O:

    -output-filename, --output-filename <filename>
    Redirect the stdout, stderr, and stddiag of all processes to a process-unique version of the specified filename. Any directories in the filename will automatically be created. Each output file will consist of, where the id will be the processes’ rank, left-filled with zero’s for correct ordering in listings.
    -stdin, --stdin <rank>
    The rank of the process that is to receive stdin. The default is to forward stdin to rank 0, but this option can be used to forward stdin to any process. It is also acceptable to specify none, indicating that no processes are to receive stdin.
    -merge-stderr-to-stdout, --merge-stderr-to-stdout
    Merge stderr to stdout for each process.
    -tag-output, --tag-output
    Tag each line of output to stdout, stderr, and stddiag with [jobid, MCW_rank]<stdxxx> indicating the process jobid and rank of the process that generated the output, and the channel which generated it.
    -timestamp-output, --timestamp-output
    Timestamp each line of output to stdout, stderr, and stddiag.
    -xml, --xml
    Provide all output to stdout, stderr, and stddiag in an xml format.
    -xml-file, --xml-file <filename>
    Provide all output in XML format to the specified file.
    -xterm, --xterm <ranks>
    Display the output from the processes identified by their ranks in separate xterm windows. The ranks are specified as a comma-separated list of ranges, with a -1 indicating all. A separate window will be created for each specified process. Note: xterm will normally terminate the window upon termination of the process running within it. However, by adding a "!" to the end of the list of specified ranks, the proper options will be provided to ensure that xterm keeps the window open after the process terminates, thus allowing you to see the process’ output. Each xterm window will subsequently need to be manually closed. Note: In some environments, xterm may require that the executable be in the user’s path, or be specified in absolute or relative terms. Thus, it may be necessary to specify a local executable as "./foo" instead of just "foo". If xterm fails to find the executable, prun will hang, but still respond correctly to a ctrl-c. If this happens, please check that the executable is being specified correctly and try again.

    To manage files and runtime environment:

    -path, --path <path>
    <path> that will be used when attempting to locate the requested executables. This is used prior to using the local PATH setting.
    --prefix <dir>
    Prefix directory that will be used to set the PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH on the remote node before invoking the target process. See the "Remote Execution" section, below.
    Disable the automatic --prefix behavior
    -s, --preload-binary
    Copy the specified executable(s) to remote machines prior to starting remote processes. The executables will be copied to the session directory and will be deleted upon completion of the job.
    --preload-files <files>
    Preload the comma separated list of files to the current working directory of the remote machines where processes will be launched prior to starting those processes.
    -set-cwd-to-session-dir, --set-cwd-to-session-dir
    Set the working directory of the started processes to their session directory.
    -wd <dir>
    Synonym for -wdir.
    -wdir <dir>
    Change to the directory <dir> before the user’s program executes. See the "Current Working Directory" section for notes on relative paths. Note: If the -wdir option appears both on the command line and in an application context, the context will take precedence over the command line. Thus, if the path to the desired wdir is different on the backend nodes, then it must be specified as an absolute path that is correct for the backend node.
    -x <env>
    Export the specified environment variables to the remote nodes before executing the program. Only one environment variable can be specified per -x option. Existing environment variables can be specified or new variable names specified with corresponding values. For example: % prun -x DISPLAY -x OFILE=/tmp/out ...

    The parser for the -x option is not very sophisticated; it does not even understand quoted values. Users are advised to set variables in the environment, and then use -x to export (not define) them.

    Setting MCA parameters:

    -gpmca, --gpmca <key> <value>
    Pass global MCA parameters that are applicable to all contexts. <key> is the parameter name; <value> is the parameter value.
    -pmca, --pmca <key> <value>
    Send arguments to various MCA modules. See the "MCA" section, below.
    -am <arg0>
    Aggregate MCA parameter set file list.
    -tune, --tune <tune_file>
    Specify a tune file to set arguments for various MCA modules and environment variables. See the "Setting MCA parameters and environment variables from file" section, below.

    For debugging:

    -debug, --debug
    Invoke the user-level debugger indicated by the orte_base_user_debugger MCA parameter.
    When paired with the --timeout option, prun will obtain and print out stack traces from all launched processes that are still alive when the timeout expires. Note that obtaining stack traces can take a little time and produce a lot of output, especially for large process-count jobs.
    -debugger, --debugger <args>
    Sequence of debuggers to search for when --debug is used (i.e. a synonym for orte_base_user_debugger MCA parameter).
    --timeout <seconds>
    The maximum number of seconds that prun will run. After this many seconds, prun will abort the launched job and exit with a non-zero exit status. Using --timeout can be also useful when combined with the --get-stack-traces option.
    -tv, --tv
    Launch processes under the TotalView debugger. Deprecated backwards compatibility flag. Synonym for --debug.

    There are also other options:

    Allow prun to run when executed by the root user (prun defaults to aborting when launched as the root user).
    --app <appfile>
    Provide an appfile, ignoring all other command line options.
    -cf, --cartofile <cartofile>
    Provide a cartography file.
    -continuous, --continuous
    Job is to run until explicitly terminated.
    -disable-recovery, --disable-recovery
    Disable recovery (resets all recovery options to off).
    -do-not-launch, --do-not-launch
    Perform all necessary operations to prepare to launch the application, but do not actually launch it.
    -do-not-resolve, --do-not-resolve
    Do not attempt to resolve interfaces.
    -enable-recovery, --enable-recovery
    Enable recovery from process failure [Default = disabled].
    -index-argv-by-rank, --index-argv-by-rank
    Uniquely index argv[0] for each process using its rank.
    -max-restarts, --max-restarts <num>
    Max number of times to restart a failed process.
    --ppr <list>
    Comma-separated list of number of processes on a given resource type [default: none].
    -report-child-jobs-separately, --report-child-jobs-separately
    Return the exit status of the primary job only.
    -report-events, --report-events <URI>
    Report events to a tool listening at the specified URI.
    -report-pid, --report-pid <channel>
    Print out prun’s PID during startup. The channel must be either a ’-’ to indicate that the pid is to be output to stdout, a ’+’ to indicate that the pid is to be output to stderr, or a filename to which the pid is to be written.
    -report-uri, --report-uri <channel>
    Print out prun’s URI during startup. The channel must be either a ’-’ to indicate that the URI is to be output to stdout, a ’+’ to indicate that the URI is to be output to stderr, or a filename to which the URI is to be written.
    -show-progress, --show-progress
    Output a brief periodic report on launch progress.
    -terminate, --terminate
    Terminate the DVM.
    -use-hwthread-cpus, --use-hwthread-cpus
    Use hardware threads as independent cpus.
    -use-regexp, --use-regexp
    Use regular expressions for launch.

    The following options are useful for developers; they are not generally useful to most users:

    -d, --debug-devel
    Enable debugging. This is not generally useful for most users.
    -display-devel-allocation, --display-devel-allocation
    Display a detailed list of the allocation being used by this job.
    -display-devel-map, --display-devel-map
    Display a more detailed table showing the mapped location of each process prior to launch.
    -display-diffable-map, --display-diffable-map
    Display a diffable process map just before launch.
    -display-topo, --display-topo
    Display the topology as part of the process map just before launch.
    When paired with the --timeout command line option, report the run-time subsystem state of each process when the timeout expires.

    There may be other options listed with prun --help.


    One invocation of prun starts an application running under PSRVR. If the application is single process multiple data (SPMD), the application can be specified on the prun command line.

    If the application is multiple instruction multiple data (MIMD), comprising of multiple programs, the set of programs and argument can be specified in one of two ways: Extended Command Line Arguments, and Application Context.

    An application context describes the MIMD program set including all arguments in a separate file. This file essentially contains multiple prun command lines, less the command name itself. The ability to specify different options for different instantiations of a program is another reason to use an application context.

    Extended command line arguments allow for the description of the application layout on the command line using colons (:) to separate the specification of programs and arguments. Some options are globally set across all specified programs (e.g. --hostfile), while others are specific to a single program (e.g. -np).

    Specifying Host Nodes

    Host nodes can be identified on the prun command line with the -host option or in a hostfile.

    For example,

    prun -H aa,aa,bb ./a.out
    launches two processes on node aa and one on bb.

    Or, consider the hostfile

    % cat myhostfile
    aa slots=2
    bb slots=2
    cc slots=2

    Here, we list both the host names (aa, bb, and cc) but also how many "slots" there are for each. Slots indicate how many processes can potentially execute on a node. For best performance, the number of slots may be chosen to be the number of cores on the node or the number of processor sockets. If the hostfile does not provide slots information, PSRVR will attempt to discover the number of cores (or hwthreads, if the use-hwthreads-as-cpus option is set) and set the number of slots to that value. This default behavior also occurs when specifying the -host option with a single hostname. Thus, the command

    prun -H aa ./a.out
    launches a number of processes equal to the number of cores on node aa.

    prun -hostfile myhostfile ./a.out
    will launch two processes on each of the three nodes.
    prun -hostfile myhostfile -host aa ./a.out
    will launch two processes, both on node aa.
    prun -hostfile myhostfile -host dd ./a.out
    will find no hosts to run on and abort with an error. That is, the specified host dd is not in the specified hostfile.

    When running under resource managers (e.g., SLURM, Torque, etc.), PSRVR will obtain both the hostnames and the number of slots directly from the resource manger.

    Specifying Number of Processes

    As we have just seen, the number of processes to run can be set using the hostfile. Other mechanisms exist.

    The number of processes launched can be specified as a multiple of the number of nodes or processor sockets available. For example,

    prun -H aa,bb -npersocket 2 ./a.out
    launches processes 0-3 on node aa and process 4-7 on node bb, where aa and bb are both dual-socket nodes. The -npersocket option also turns on the -bind-to-socket option, which is discussed in a later section.
    prun -H aa,bb -npernode 2 ./a.out
    launches processes 0-1 on node aa and processes 2-3 on node bb.
    prun -H aa,bb -npernode 1 ./a.out
    launches one process per host node.
    prun -H aa,bb -pernode ./a.out
    is the same as -npernode 1.

    Another alternative is to specify the number of processes with the -np option. Consider now the hostfile

    % cat myhostfile
    aa slots=4
    bb slots=4
    cc slots=4


    prun -hostfile myhostfile -np 6 ./a.out
    will launch processes 0-3 on node aa and processes 4-5 on node bb. The remaining slots in the hostfile will not be used since the -np option indicated that only 6 processes should be launched.

    Mapping Processes to Nodes: Using Policies

    The examples above illustrate the default mapping of process processes to nodes. This mapping can also be controlled with various prun options that describe mapping policies.

    Consider the same hostfile as above, again with -np 6:

    node aa node bb node cc

    prun 0 1 2 3 4 5

    prun --map-by node 0 3 1 4 2 5

    prun -nolocal 0 1 2 3 4 5

    The --map-by node option will load balance the processes across the available nodes, numbering each process in a round-robin fashion.

    The -nolocal option prevents any processes from being mapped onto the local host (in this case node aa). While prun typically consumes few system resources, -nolocal can be helpful for launching very large jobs where prun may actually need to use noticeable amounts of memory and/or processing time.

    Just as -np can specify fewer processes than there are slots, it can also oversubscribe the slots. For example, with the same hostfile:

    prun -hostfile myhostfile -np 14 ./a.out
    will launch processes 0-3 on node aa, 4-7 on bb, and 8-11 on cc. It will then add the remaining two processes to whichever nodes it chooses.

    One can also specify limits to oversubscription. For example, with the same hostfile:

    prun -hostfile myhostfile -np 14 -nooversubscribe ./a.out
    will produce an error since -nooversubscribe prevents oversubscription.

    Limits to oversubscription can also be specified in the hostfile itself: % cat myhostfile
    aa slots=4 max_slots=4
    bb max_slots=4
    cc slots=4

    The max_slots field specifies such a limit. When it does, the slots value defaults to the limit. Now:

    prun -hostfile myhostfile -np 14 ./a.out
    causes the first 12 processes to be launched as before, but the remaining two processes will be forced onto node cc. The other two nodes are protected by the hostfile against oversubscription by this job.

    Using the --nooversubscribe option can be helpful since PSRVR currently does not get "max_slots" values from the resource manager.

    Of course, -np can also be used with the -H or -host option. For example,

    prun -H aa,bb -np 8 ./a.out
    launches 8 processes. Since only two hosts are specified, after the first two processes are mapped, one to aa and one to bb, the remaining processes oversubscribe the specified hosts.

    And here is a MIMD example:

    prun -H aa -np 1 hostname : -H bb,cc -np 2 uptime
    will launch process 0 running hostname on node aa and processes 1 and 2 each running uptime on nodes bb and cc, respectively.

    Mapping, Ranking, and Binding: Oh My!

    PSRVR employs a three-phase procedure for assigning process locations and ranks:
    Assigns a default location to each process
    Assigns a rank value to each process
    Constrains each process to run on specific processors

    The mapping step is used to assign a default location to each process based on the mapper being employed. Mapping by slot, node, and sequentially results in the assignment of the processes to the node level. In contrast, mapping by object, allows the mapper to assign the process to an actual object on each node.

    Note: the location assigned to the process is independent of where it will be bound - the assignment is used solely as input to the binding algorithm.

    The mapping of process processes to nodes can be defined not just with general policies but also, if necessary, using arbitrary mappings that cannot be described by a simple policy. One can use the "sequential mapper," which reads the hostfile line by line, assigning processes to nodes in whatever order the hostfile specifies. Use the -pmca rmaps seq option. For example, using the same hostfile as before:

    prun -hostfile myhostfile -pmca rmaps seq ./a.out

    will launch three processes, one on each of nodes aa, bb, and cc, respectively. The slot counts don’t matter; one process is launched per line on whatever node is listed on the line.

    Another way to specify arbitrary mappings is with a rankfile, which gives you detailed control over process binding as well. Rankfiles are discussed below.

    The second phase focuses on the ranking of the process within the job. PSRVR separates this from the mapping procedure to allow more flexibility in the relative placement of processes. This is best illustrated by considering the following two cases where we used the —map-by ppr:2:socket option:

    node aa node bb

    rank-by core 0 1 ! 2 3 4 5 ! 6 7

    rank-by socket 0 2 ! 1 3 4 6 ! 5 7

    rank-by socket:span 0 4 ! 1 5 2 6 ! 3 7

    Ranking by core and by slot provide the identical result - a simple progression of ranks across each node. Ranking by socket does a round-robin ranking within each node until all processes have been assigned a rank, and then progresses to the next node. Adding the span modifier to the ranking directive causes the ranking algorithm to treat the entire allocation as a single entity - thus, the MCW ranks are assigned across all sockets before circling back around to the beginning.

    The binding phase actually binds each process to a given set of processors. This can improve performance if the operating system is placing processes suboptimally. For example, it might oversubscribe some multi-core processor sockets, leaving other sockets idle; this can lead processes to contend unnecessarily for common resources. Or, it might spread processes out too widely; this can be suboptimal if application performance is sensitive to interprocess communication costs. Binding can also keep the operating system from migrating processes excessively, regardless of how optimally those processes were placed to begin with.

    The processors to be used for binding can be identified in terms of topological groupings - e.g., binding to an l3cache will bind each process to all processors within the scope of a single L3 cache within their assigned location. Thus, if a process is assigned by the mapper to a certain socket, then a —bind-to l3cache directive will cause the process to be bound to the processors that share a single L3 cache within that socket.

    To help balance loads, the binding directive uses a round-robin method when binding to levels lower than used in the mapper. For example, consider the case where a job is mapped to the socket level, and then bound to core. Each socket will have multiple cores, so if multiple processes are mapped to a given socket, the binding algorithm will assign each process located to a socket to a unique core in a round-robin manner.

    Alternatively, processes mapped by l2cache and then bound to socket will simply be bound to all the processors in the socket where they are located. In this manner, users can exert detailed control over relative MCW rank location and binding.

    Finally, --report-bindings can be used to report bindings.

    As an example, consider a node with two processor sockets, each comprising four cores. We run prun with -np 4 --report-bindings and the following additional options:

    % prun ... --map-by core --bind-to core
    [...] ... binding child [...,0] to cpus 0001
    [...] ... binding child [...,1] to cpus 0002
    [...] ... binding child [...,2] to cpus 0004
    [...] ... binding child [...,3] to cpus 0008

    % prun ... --map-by socket --bind-to socket
    [...] ... binding child [...,0] to socket 0 cpus 000f
    [...] ... binding child [...,1] to socket 1 cpus 00f0
    [...] ... binding child [...,2] to socket 0 cpus 000f
    [...] ... binding child [...,3] to socket 1 cpus 00f0

    % prun ... --map-by core:PE=2 --bind-to core
    [...] ... binding child [...,0] to cpus 0003
    [...] ... binding child [...,1] to cpus 000c
    [...] ... binding child [...,2] to cpus 0030
    [...] ... binding child [...,3] to cpus 00c0

    % prun ... --bind-to none

    Here, --report-bindings shows the binding of each process as a mask. In the first case, the processes bind to successive cores as indicated by the masks 0001, 0002, 0004, and 0008. In the second case, processes bind to all cores on successive sockets as indicated by the masks 000f and 00f0. The processes cycle through the processor sockets in a round-robin fashion as many times as are needed. In the third case, the masks show us that 2 cores have been bound per process. In the fourth case, binding is turned off and no bindings are reported.

    PSRVR’s support for process binding depends on the underlying operating system. Therefore, certain process binding options may not be available on every system.

    Process binding can also be set with MCA parameters. Their usage is less convenient than that of prun options. On the other hand, MCA parameters can be set not only on the prun command line, but alternatively in a system or user mca-params.conf file or as environment variables, as described in the MCA section below. Some examples include:

    prun option MCA parameter key value

    --map-by core rmaps_base_mapping_policy core
    --map-by socket rmaps_base_mapping_policy socket
    --rank-by core rmaps_base_ranking_policy core
    --bind-to core hwloc_base_binding_policy core
    --bind-to socket hwloc_base_binding_policy socket
    --bind-to none hwloc_base_binding_policy none


    Rankfiles are text files that specify detailed information about how individual processes should be mapped to nodes, and to which processor(s) they should be bound. Each line of a rankfile specifies the location of one process. The general form of each line in the rankfile is:

    rank <N>=<hostname> slot=<slot list>

    For example:

    $ cat myrankfile
    rank 0=aa slot=1:0-2
    rank 1=bb slot=0:0,1
    rank 2=cc slot=1-2
    $ prun -H aa,bb,cc,dd -rf myrankfile ./a.out

    Means that

    Rank 0 runs on node aa, bound to logical socket 1, cores 0-2.
    Rank 1 runs on node bb, bound to logical socket 0, cores 0 and 1.
    Rank 2 runs on node cc, bound to logical cores 1 and 2.

    Rankfiles can alternatively be used to specify physical processor locations. In this case, the syntax is somewhat different. Sockets are no longer recognized, and the slot number given must be the number of the physical PU as most OS’s do not assign a unique physical identifier to each core in the node. Thus, a proper physical rankfile looks something like the following:

    $ cat myphysicalrankfile
    rank 0=aa slot=1
    rank 1=bb slot=8
    rank 2=cc slot=6

    This means that

    Rank 0 will run on node aa, bound to the core that contains physical PU 1
    Rank 1 will run on node bb, bound to the core that contains physical PU 8
    Rank 2 will run on node cc, bound to the core that contains physical PU 6

    Rankfiles are treated as logical by default, and the MCA parameter rmaps_rank_file_physical must be set to 1 to indicate that the rankfile is to be considered as physical.

    The hostnames listed above are "absolute," meaning that actual resolveable hostnames are specified. However, hostnames can also be specified as "relative," meaning that they are specified in relation to an externally-specified list of hostnames (e.g., by prun’s --host argument, a hostfile, or a job scheduler).

    The "relative" specification is of the form "+n<X>", where X is an integer specifying the Xth hostname in the set of all available hostnames, indexed from 0. For example:

    $ cat myrankfile
    rank 0=+n0 slot=1:0-2
    rank 1=+n1 slot=0:0,1
    rank 2=+n2 slot=1-2
    $ prun -H aa,bb,cc,dd -rf myrankfile ./a.out

    All socket/core slot locations are be specified as logical indexes. You can use tools such as HWLOC’s "lstopo" to find the logical indexes of socket and cores.

    Application Context or Executable Program?

    To distinguish the two different forms, prun looks on the command line for --app option. If it is specified, then the file named on the command line is assumed to be an application context. If it is not specified, then the file is assumed to be an executable program.

    Locating Files

    If no relative or absolute path is specified for a file, prun will first look for files by searching the directories specified by the --path option. If there is no --path option set or if the file is not found at the --path location, then prun will search the user’s PATH environment variable as defined on the source node(s).

    If a relative directory is specified, it must be relative to the initial working directory determined by the specific starter used. For example when using the rsh or ssh starters, the initial directory is $HOME by default. Other starters may set the initial directory to the current working directory from the invocation of prun.

    Current Working Directory

    The -wdir prun option (and its synonym, -wd) allows the user to change to an arbitrary directory before the program is invoked. It can also be used in application context files to specify working directories on specific nodes and/or for specific applications.

    If the -wdir option appears both in a context file and on the command line, the context file directory will override the command line value.

    If the -wdir option is specified, prun will attempt to change to the specified directory on all of the remote nodes. If this fails, prun will abort.

    If the -wdir option is not specified, prun will send the directory name where prun was invoked to each of the remote nodes. The remote nodes will try to change to that directory. If they are unable (e.g., if the directory does not exist on that node), then prun will use the default directory determined by the starter.

    All directory changing occurs before the user’s program is invoked.

    Standard I/O

    PSRVR directs UNIX standard input to /dev/null on all processes except the rank 0 process. The rank 0 process inherits standard input from prun. Note: The node that invoked prun need not be the same as the node where the rank 0 process resides. PSRVR handles the redirection of prun’s standard input to the rank 0 process.

    PSRVR directs UNIX standard output and error from remote nodes to the node that invoked prun and prints it on the standard output/error of prun. Local processes inherit the standard output/error of prun and transfer to it directly.

    Thus it is possible to redirect standard I/O for applications by using the typical shell redirection procedure on prun.

    % prun -np 2 my_app < my_input > my_output

    Note that in this example only the rank 0 process will receive the stream from my_input on stdin. The stdin on all the other nodes will be tied to /dev/null. However, the stdout from all nodes will be collected into the my_output file.

    Signal Propagation

    When prun receives a SIGTERM and SIGINT, it will attempt to kill the entire job by sending all processes in the job a SIGTERM, waiting a small number of seconds, then sending all processes in the job a SIGKILL.

    SIGUSR1 and SIGUSR2 signals received by prun are propagated to all processes in the job.

    A SIGTSTOP signal to prun will cause a SIGSTOP signal to be sent to all of the programs started by prun and likewise a SIGCONT signal to prun will cause a SIGCONT sent.

    Other signals are not currently propagated by prun.

    Process Termination / Signal Handling

    During the run of an application, if any process dies abnormally (either exiting before invoking PMIx_Finalize, or dying as the result of a signal), prun will print out an error message and kill the rest of the application.

    Process Environment

    Processes in the application inherit their environment from the PSRVR daemon upon the node on which they are running. The environment is typically inherited from the user’s shell. On remote nodes, the exact environment is determined by the boot MCA module used. The rsh launch module, for example, uses either rsh/ssh to launch the PSRVR daemon on remote nodes, and typically executes one or more of the user’s shell-setup files before launching the daemon. When running dynamically linked applications which require the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to be set, care must be taken to ensure that it is correctly set when booting PSRVR.

    See the "Remote Execution" section for more details.

    Remote Execution

    PSRVR requires that the PATH environment variable be set to find executables on remote nodes (this is typically only necessary in rsh- or ssh-based environments -- batch/scheduled environments typically copy the current environment to the execution of remote jobs, so if the current environment has PATH and/or LD_LIBRARY_PATH set properly, the remote nodes will also have it set properly). If PSRVR was compiled with shared library support, it may also be necessary to have the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable set on remote nodes as well (especially to find the shared libraries required to run user applications).

    However, it is not always desirable or possible to edit shell startup files to set PATH and/or LD_LIBRARY_PATH. The --prefix option is provided for some simple configurations where this is not possible.

    The --prefix option takes a single argument: the base directory on the remote node where PSRVR is installed. PSRVR will use this directory to set the remote PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH before executing any user applications. This allows running jobs without having pre-configured the PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH on the remote nodes.

    PSRVR adds the basename of the current node’s "bindir" (the directory where PSRVR’s executables are installed) to the prefix and uses that to set the PATH on the remote node. Similarly, PSRVR adds the basename of the current node’s "libdir" (the directory where PSRVR’s libraries are installed) to the prefix and uses that to set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH on the remote node. For example:

    Local bindir:
    Local libdir:

    If the following command line is used:

    % prun --prefix /remote/node/directory

    PSRVR will add "/remote/node/directory/bin" to the PATH and "/remote/node/directory/lib64" to the D_LIBRARY_PATH on the remote node before attempting to execute anything.

    The --prefix option is not sufficient if the installation paths on the remote node are different than the local node (e.g., if "/lib" is used on the local node, but "/lib64" is used on the remote node), or if the installation paths are something other than a subdirectory under a common prefix.

    Note that executing prun via an absolute pathname is equivalent to specifying --prefix without the last subdirectory in the absolute pathname to prun. For example:

    % /usr/local/bin/prun ...

    is equivalent to

    % prun --prefix /usr/local

    Exported Environment Variables

    All environment variables that are named in the form PMIX_* will automatically be exported to new processes on the local and remote nodes. Environmental parameters can also be set/forwarded to the new processes using the MCA parameter mca_base_env_list. While the syntax of the -x option and MCA param allows the definition of new variables, note that the parser for these options are currently not very sophisticated - it does not even understand quoted values. Users are advised to set variables in the environment and use the option to export them; not to define them.

    Setting MCA Parameters

    The -pmca switch allows the passing of parameters to various MCA (Modular Component Architecture) modules. MCA modules have direct impact on programs because they allow tunable parameters to be set at run time (such as which BTL communication device driver to use, what parameters to pass to that BTL, etc.).

    The -pmca switch takes two arguments: <key> and <value>. The <key> argument generally specifies which MCA module will receive the value. For example, the <key> "btl" is used to select which BTL to be used for transporting messages. The <value> argument is the value that is passed. For example:

    prun -pmca btl tcp,self -np 1 foo
    Tells PSRVR to use the "tcp" and "self" BTLs, and to run a single copy of "foo" on an allocated node.
    prun -pmca btl self -np 1 foo
    Tells PSRVR to use the "self" BTL, and to run a single copy of "foo" on an allocated node.

    The -pmca switch can be used multiple times to specify different <key> and/or <value> arguments. If the same <key> is specified more than once, the <value>s are concatenated with a comma (",") separating them.

    Note that the -pmca switch is simply a shortcut for setting environment variables. The same effect may be accomplished by setting corresponding environment variables before running prun. The form of the environment variables that PSRVR sets is:


    Thus, the -pmca switch overrides any previously set environment variables. The -pmca settings similarly override MCA parameters set in the $OPAL_PREFIX/etc/psrvr-mca-params.conf or $HOME/.psrvr/mca-params.conf file.

    Unknown <key> arguments are still set as environment variable -- they are not checked (by prun) for correctness. Illegal or incorrect <value> arguments may or may not be reported -- it depends on the specific MCA module.

    To find the available component types under the MCA architecture, or to find the available parameters for a specific component, use the pinfo command. See the pinfo(1) man page for detailed information on the command.

    Setting MCA parameters and environment variables from file.

    The -tune command line option and its synonym -pmca mca_base_envar_file_prefix allows a user to set mca parameters and environment variables with the syntax described below. This option requires a single file or list of files separated by "," to follow.

    A valid line in the file may contain zero or many "-x", "-pmca", or “--pmca” arguments. The following patterns are supported: -pmca var val -pmca var "val" -x var=val -x var. If any argument is duplicated in the file, the last value read will be used.

    MCA parameters and environment specified on the command line have higher precedence than variables specified in the file.

    Running as root

    The PSRVR team strongly advises against executing prun as the root user. Applications should be run as regular (non-root) users.

    Reflecting this advice, prun will refuse to run as root by default. To override this default, you can add the --allow-run-as-root option to the prun command line.

    Exit status

    There is no standard definition for what prun should return as an exit status. After considerable discussion, we settled on the following method for assigning the prun exit status (note: in the following description, the "primary" job is the initial application started by prun - all jobs that are spawned by that job are designated "secondary" jobs):
    if all processes in the primary job normally terminate with exit status 0, we return 0
    if one or more processes in the primary job normally terminate with non-zero exit status, we return the exit status of the process with the lowest rank to have a non-zero status
    if all processes in the primary job normally terminate with exit status 0, and one or more processes in a secondary job normally terminate with non-zero exit status, we (a) return the exit status of the process with the lowest rank in the lowest jobid to have a non-zero status, and (b) output a message summarizing the exit status of the primary and all secondary jobs.
    if the cmd line option --report-child-jobs-separately is set, we will return -only- the exit status of the primary job. Any non-zero exit status in secondary jobs will be reported solely in a summary print statement.

    By default, PSRVR records and notes that processes exited with non-zero termination status. This is generally not considered an "abnormal termination" - i.e., PSRVR will not abort a job if one or more processes return a non-zero status. Instead, the default behavior simply reports the number of processes terminating with non-zero status upon completion of the job.

    However, in some cases it can be desirable to have the job abort when any process terminates with non-zero status. For example, a non-PMIx job might detect a bad result from a calculation and want to abort, but doesn’t want to generate a core file. Or a PMIx job might continue past a call to PMIx_Finalize, but indicate that all processes should abort due to some post-PMIx result.

    It is not anticipated that this situation will occur frequently. However, in the interest of serving the broader community, PSRVR now has a means for allowing users to direct that jobs be aborted upon any process exiting with non-zero status. Setting the MCA parameter "orte_abort_on_non_zero_status" to 1 will cause PSRVR to abort all processes once any process exits with non-zero status.

    Terminations caused in this manner will be reported on the console as an "abnormal termination", with the first process to so exit identified along with its exit status.

    Return Value

    prun returns 0 if all processes started by prun exit after calling PMIx_Finalize. A non-zero value is returned if an internal error occurred in prun, or one or more processes exited before calling PMIx_Finalize. If an internal error occurred in prun, the corresponding error code is returned. In the event that one or more processes exit before calling PMIx_Finalize, the return value of the rank of the process that prun first notices died before calling PMIx_Finalize will be returned. Note that, in general, this will be the first process that died but is not guaranteed to be so.

    If the --timeout command line option is used and the timeout expires before the job completes (thereby forcing prun to kill the job) prun will return an exit status equivalent to the value of ETIMEDOUT (which is typically 110 on Linux and OS X systems).

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