Batch Jobs

In Flux, a batch job is a script submitted along with a request for resources. When resources become available, the script is run as the initial program of a new single-user instance of Flux, with the batch user as instance owner. Thus, in contrast to a traditional batch scheduler, a Flux batch job has access to fully featured resource manager instance, and may not only serially execute work on allocated resources, but load custom modules or customize parameters of existing modules, monitor and update status of allocated resources, and even submit more batch jobs to run further sub-instances of Flux.


In the following, batch jobs will be described using single-user Flux, but it is important to note that the same commands and techniques will also work at the system level.

Launching Flux in Interactive Mode

For this demonstration, we first launch Flux under SLURM and get an interactive shell.

$ salloc -N4 -ppdebug
salloc: Granted job allocation 5620626
$ srun -N ${SLURM_NNODES} 4 -n ${SLURM_NNODES} --pty --mpi=none --mpibind=off flux start


If launching under SLURM is not possible or convenient, a single-node single user instance of Flux can be started with flux start -s 4.

Mini Batch Command

The high-level Flux command that users can use to submit a batch script is flux mini batch.


echo "Starting my batch job"
echo "Print the resources allocated to this batch job"
flux hwloc info

echo "Use sleep to emulate a parallel program"
echo "Run the program at a total of 4 processes each requiring"
echo "1 core. These processes are equally spread across 2 nodes."
flux mini run -N 2 -n 4 sleep 120
flux mini run -N 2 -n 4 sleep 120

The name of your batch script is As shown from the flux mini run lines in this script, you can see the the overall resource requirement is 4 cores equally spread across two nodes as the default numbers of cores assigned to each task (specified by the -n option) is just one.

We now submit this script interactively three times using flux mini batch.

$ flux mini batch --nslots=2 --cores-per-slot=2 --nodes=2 ./
$ flux mini batch --nslots=2 --cores-per-slot=2 --nodes=2 ./
$ flux mini batch --nslots=2 --cores-per-slot=2 --nodes=2 ./

Users must specify the overall resource requirement of each job using --nslots, which is the only required option, along with other optional options including those describing the resource shape of each slot and how the slots are distributed across different nodes. In this example, each job requests two slots each with 2 cores (--cores-per-slot=2) and these slots must be equally spread across two nodes (--nodes=4).

Currently, if you want a script to be exclusively allocated to a set of nodes, the recommended option set is: --nslots=<NUM OF NODES> --cores-per-slot=<MAX NUM OF CORES PER NODE> and --nodes=<NUM OF NODES>


Internally, Flux will create a nested Flux instance allocated to the requested resources per batch job and run the batch script inside that nested instance. While a batch script is expected to launch parallel jobs using flux mini run or flux mini submit at this level, nothing prevents the script from further batching other sub-batch-jobs using the flux mini batch interface, if desired.

You can check the status of these batch jobs:

$ flux jobs -a
ƒWZEQa8X dahn     sleep_batc  R      2      2   1.931s [0-1]
ƒW8eCV2o dahn     sleep_batc  R      2      2   2.896s [0-1]
ƒVhYLeJB dahn     sleep_batc  R      2      2   3.878s [0-1]

By default, the stdout/stderr of each batch job will be redirected to the flux-${JOBID}.out file and you can easily change the name of this file by passing --output=<FILE NAME1> and --error=<FILE NAME2>.

Checking the output file of one of the batch job:

$ flux job attach ƒWZEQa8X
0: stdout redirected to flux-1125147213824.out
0: stderr redirected to flux-1125147213824.out

$ cat flux-1125147213824.out
Print the resources allocated to this batch job
2 Machines, 4 Cores, 8 PUs
Use sleep to emulate a parallel program
Run the program at a total of 4 processes each requiring
1 core. These processes are equally spread across 2 nodes.

Launching Flux in SLURM’s Batch Mode

Users may want to script the above procedures within a script to submit to another resource manager such SLURM.

An example sbatch script:


srun -N ${SLURM_NNODES} 4 -n ${SLURM_NNODES} --mpi=none --mpibind=off flux start


--pty is not used in this case because this option is known to produce a side effect in a non-interactive batch environment.

flux mini batch --nslots=2 --cores-per-slot=2 --nodes=2 ./
flux mini batch --nslots=2 --cores-per-slot=2 --nodes=2 ./
flux mini batch --nslots=2 --cores-per-slot=2 --nodes=2 ./
flux queue drain

Blocking and Non-blocking Commands

It is important to note that some of the Flux commands used above are blocking and some of them are non-blocking.

Both flux mini submit and flux mini batch have submit semantics and as such they submit a parallel program or batch script and return shortly after. To avoid the exiting of the containing script, you can use flux queue drain which drains the queue such that no job can be submitted and then waits until all submitted jobs complete. Thus, it is recommended not to run those commands in background.

By contrast, flux mini run blocks until the target program completes.

Fluxion Scheduler

With our Fluxion graph-based scheduler, users can easily specialize their scheduling behaviors tailored to the characteristics of their workloads.

As an example, we will describe how you can set the queue and backfill policies of the submitting Flux to a simple policy named EASY while still keeping the policy of the nested Flux instances default: First Come First Served (FCFS).

$ salloc -N4 -ppdebug
salloc: Granted job allocation 5620626
$ cat sched-fluxion-qmanager.toml

  queue-policy = "easy"

$ srun -N ${SLURM_NNODES} 4 -n ${SLURM_NNODES} --pty --mpi=none --mpibind=off flux start -o,--config-path=./

sched-fluxion-qmanager is the one of the modules from Fluxion and sched-fluxion-qmanager.toml in the current working directory is our TOML configuration file that changes the queue/backfilling policy to EASY-backfilling. This backfill-capable queue policy can significantly increase the makespan of batch jobs.


Note that we pass the current working directory to -o,--config-path so that Fluxion can use this TOML file in customizing its scheduling. This file will not affect any other nested Flux instances unless they are also passed with the same -o,--config-path option.