[Beowulf] Interactive vs batch, and schedulers

Lux, Jim (US 337K) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Jan 16 15:24:56 PST 2020

Are there any references out there that discuss the tradeoffs between interactive and batch scheduling (perhaps some from the 60s and 70s?) –
Most big HPC systems have a mix of giant jobs and smaller ones managed by some process like PBS or SLURM, with queues of various sized jobs.

What I’m interested in is the idea of jobs that, if spread across many nodes (dozens) can complete in seconds (<1 minute) providing essentially “interactive” access, in the context of large jobs taking days to complete.   It’s not clear to me that the current schedulers can actually do this – rather, they allocate M of N nodes to a particular job pulled out of a series of queues, and that job “owns” the nodes until it completes.  Smaller jobs get run on (M-1) of the N nodes, and presumably complete faster, so it works down through the queue quicker, but ultimately, if you have a job that would take, say, 10 seconds on 1000 nodes, it’s going to take 20 minutes on 10 nodes.



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