Using Idle Resources

Hyak's Condo Model#

The Hyak clusters operate on a condo model, the details of which are here: https://hyak.uw.edu/pricing

The first component of this model is on-demand access to the resources your group has contributed. When you request resources from a partition, e.g. with:

salloc --account labname --partition compute

You will be limited by the amount of resources your lab has contributed to that partition (in this example, compute).

In other words, if your group has contributed 40 CPUs to the compute partition, your group will only be able to allocate 40 CPUs at any given time.

The Checkpoint Partition#

The second component of our condo model—and one of the major advantages of contributing to the cluster—is the "checkpoint" partition, ckpt. When you request resources from ckpt, e.g. with:

salloc --account labname --partition ckpt

You can request resources from the entire cluster's idle resources (including GPUs, regardless of whether your lab has contributed any). You can view currently idle resources, both for your lab's partition and for the whole cluster, using our hyakalloc command (further documentation here).

What is an "Idle" resource?

When we say a resource is "currently idle," that only means no running jobs are using it at this moment. "Idle" does not imply that you are guaranteed to receive a resource if you request it! Our job scheduler, Slurm, may already have a plan for that resource (by the lab who contributed it, or even by another checkpoint user). In other words, "currently idle" doesn't mean "idle in 5 minutes from now".

Checkpoint Limitations#

Jobs submitted to checkpoint are limited in the following important ways:

  1. All checkpoint jobs are stopped & requeued every 4 hours.
  2. All checkpoint jobs can be stopped & requeued at any time—without notice—if a resource contributor requests their resource (this is the mechanism which provides on-demand access to contributed resources).

Jobs submitted to this partition should be designed to:

  1. Save their progress at regular intervals, or "checkpoints."
  2. Once resumed, start their work from the last saved "checkpoint."