Using the PBS / Torque queueing environment

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The main commands for interacting with the Torque environment are:

> qstat

View queued jobs.

> qsub

Submit a job to the scheduler.

> qdel

Delete one of your jobs from queue.

Job script parameters

Parameters for any job submission are specified as #PBS comments in the job script file or as options to the qsub command. The essential options for the cluster include:

#PBS -l nodes=1:ppn=14

sets the size of the job in number of processors:

nodes=N sets the number of nodes needed.

ppn=N sets the number of cores per node.

#PBS -l walltime=8:00:00

sets the total expected wall clock time in hours:minutes:seconds. Note the wall clock limits for each queue.

Example job scripts

A program using 14 cores on a single node:

#PBS -l nodes=1:ppn=14
#PBS -l walltime=8:00:00
#PBS -q normal
#PBS -o /path/to/stdout.log
#PBS -e /path/to/stderr.log
#PBS -m ae
module load bowtie2-
bowtie2 -x /path/to/genome -p 14 -1 /path/to/forwardreads.fastq -2 /path/to/reversereads.fastq -S /path/to/outputfile.sam

Assuming the above job script is saved as the text file, the command to submit it to the Torque scheduler is:

> qsub

Interactive jobs

  • If you need an interactive terminal session on one of the servers (e.g. to compile code, setup jobs, test jobs), you can do this by using the qsub interactive mode, for example:

> qsub -I -q queue_name -l nodes=1:ppn=1 -l walltime=01:00:00

The different queues available

Single node jobs

Queue Name Max user jobs running Max user cores
running per job
Max memory Max walltime Description
short 6 28 128 GB 08:00:00 Short queue with 5 minute time limit
normal 24 28 128 GB 08:00:00 Medium queue with 8 hour time limit
long 1 28 128 GB 168:00:00 Long queue with one week time limit
bigmem 1 24 750 GB 72:00:00 High memory queue with 3 day time limit
mpi 1 112 128 GB 72:00:00 Queue for mpi parallel jobs with 3 day tome limit

o 112 cores with 24 hour time limit |}

Additional information

  • A useful Torque tutorial can be found at this link.
  • Detailed reference documentation for queue submission is available here.