Possibility for checkpoint?

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Marc Hömberger

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Dec 24, 2018, 1:58:28 PM12/24/18
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Hi everyone, 

I am using Baliphy on a computing cluster and due to some changes a wall clock limit of 72hr has been put in place. For me that means I cannot use it for BaliPhy since none of my runs will converge within just 72hr. I was wondering if there is a way to resume a terminated Baliphy job, or if someone has been able to write checkpoint files to allow for continuing runs?

Thanks, 
Happy Holidays, 
Marc

Joel Berendzen

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Dec 24, 2018, 5:39:13 PM12/24/18
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Try criu.  If that is problematic, then link bali-phy with libckp and use that.  Bali-phy doesn’t make expensive memory demands, so why not run it on your own private machine?
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Marc Hömberger

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Dec 28, 2018, 8:12:22 AM12/28/18
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The reason I run it on the cluster is so that I can run many chains. I will look into criu. 

THanks, 
Marc


On Monday, December 24, 2018 at 5:39:13 PM UTC-5, Joel Berendzen wrote:
Try criu.  If that is problematic, then link bali-phy with libckp and use that.  Bali-phy doesn’t make expensive memory demands, so why not run it on your own private machine?

On Monday, December 24, 2018, Marc Hömberger <hoe...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi everyone, 

I am using Baliphy on a computing cluster and due to some changes a wall clock limit of 72hr has been put in place. For me that means I cannot use it for BaliPhy since none of my runs will converge within just 72hr. I was wondering if there is a way to resume a terminated Baliphy job, or if someone has been able to write checkpoint files to allow for continuing runs?

Thanks, 
Happy Holidays, 
Marc

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Benjamin Redelings

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Jan 23, 2019, 11:40:07 AM1/23/19
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Hi Marc,

First of all, my apologies for taking so long to respond.  I got sick during the holidays and that meant that I had less energy to handle difficult questions like this.

You are the second person who has asked for checkpoint-restore capabilities in bali-phy, so I think this is an important issue.  However, bali-phy's internal state is very (VERY) complex, and so I have not yet spent the necessary time to figure out how to dump and restore that state.

I was able to get CRIU to work and restore a bali-phy job:

    % sudo /usr/sbin/criu dump -D snap-${PID} -t ${PID} -vvv --shell-job

    % sudo /usr/sbin/criu restore -D snap-${PID} -v3 --shell-job -o restore.log

The only problem here is that you need to be root!  If the cluster administrators are willing to make criu SUID then this would solve the problem, but might be considered a security risk.

Does your cluster use SLURM?  This presentation from 2016 discusses integrating the CRIU, BLCR, and DMTCP checkpoint-restore frameworks into SLURM:

    https://slurm.schedmd.com/SLUG16/ciemat-cr.pdf

It seems reasonable to me that, if the cluster administrators are going to limit jobs to 72 hours, then they should do a bit of work to help out people whose jobs don't fit in that window.

Have you had any luck with CRIU on your cluster?

-BenRI

P.S. The cluster administrator at Duke says that professors who use the cluster are often quite pushy, and say things like "we are doing chemistry and molecular dynamics simulations, real science, and should have priority over those biologists who are not doing real science."  Maybe someone whose jobs take less than 72 hours pushed the cluster administrators to change their scheduling policy in favor of short jobs?  In that case, maybe you can push back (or find someone senior enough to push back) the other direction.

Joel Berendzen

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Jan 23, 2019, 1:34:34 PM1/23/19
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After thinking occasionally about this issue over the last month, I'd suggest not doing anything fancy with criu or the like.  I'd recommend instead to just get the state from the latest saved alignments and trees.   While there are time costs associated with startup, if those costs aren't negligible compared with 72 hours of CPU, then you have bitten off too big an alignment for your compute power available.  Since you can (I presume) run multiple 72-hour chains in parallel, you can also save some time by restarting from the replica with the best stats, up till convergence.  Yes, I'm aware that such a procedure can underestimate inter-chain variances if the convergence landscape is rough, but so far that seems not to be the case.

I'm in the process of writing some steering code to make some of the above automated.

As for how to push back against other cluster users, speaking as a physicist and sometimes crystallographer who has done a bit of molecular dynamics simulations, I'd point out that the models for molecular phylogeny are much more successful (in the sense of being quantitative) than those used for MD.   The burden of being more intellectually disreputable is on the chemists in this case.  Of course, what really matters to the cluster administrators is who will provide the justification for continued operation and eventual upgrades of the facility, which come in the forms of contributing citations to work you did and writing paragraphs in future funding proposals.

Benjamin Redelings

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Feb 12, 2019, 2:50:54 PM2/12/19
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Hey Marc,

    I'm looking into this some more, and I suspect it will be possible to suspend and resume tasks using criu.  However, they have to be run inside of a container.  So, you could do this using docker, I think.  However, I'm looking into ways to make this work transparently.  Sorry this is taking a while...

-BenRI

On 12/24/18 1:58 PM, Marc Hömberger wrote:
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