Running Julia code on MIT Supercloud

Shuvomoy Das Gupta

January 24, 2020

In this blog, we are going to discuss how to MIT supercloud to run simple Julia code.

As an illustrative example, I will use Julia code that uses lasso to approximately solve a sparse regression problem.

First, we start with some common code that comes handy while working with the supercloud.

Entering the supercloud

Assuming that we have setup our supercloud account already by following the instruction here, enter the supercloud from bash using the code:

ssh where replace tim with your username.

Transferring files from local computer to supercloud

If we want to transfer all the files in a folder called PC_tests to a folder named supercloud_tests located in the supercloud, we can achieve that by running the following command in bash.

scp -r TIMs_Local_Folder_path/PC_tests/*

Julia code

The code for the julia file is given below, please save it in a text file and name it lasso.jl.

## Please copy the code in this code block and save it as lasso.jl
println("lasso.jl is running")

## The following function is used to compute cardinality of a vector.
function l_0_norm(x,y,n,delta_l0_norm)
    diffxy = x-y
    l_0_norm_xy = ones(n)
    for i in 1:n
        if abs(diffxy[i]) <= delta_l0_norm
    return sum(l_0_norm_xy)

function card(x, n, delta_l0_norm)
    return l_0_norm(x,zeros(n),n,delta_l0_norm)

## Data

b = randn(100)

A = randn(100,200)

m, n = size(A)

λ_glment_array = 10 .^(range(-4,stop=4,length=1000))

k = 20

## running lasso using glmnet
using GLMNet, LinearAlgebra

path = glmnet(A, b, lambda = λ_glment_array)

matrix_x = convert(Matrix, path.betas)

## finding glmnet smallest

λ_glmnet_smallest = 0

x_glmnet = zeros(n)

m1, n1 = size(matrix_x)

for i in 1:n1
    cardinality_present = card(matrix_x[:,i], m1, 1e-5)
    println("cardinality of the ", i , "-th solution is = ", cardinality_present)
    if cardinality_present <= k
        println("card(signal) =", cardinality_present, " found for λ = ",  λ_glment_array[i])
        global λ_glmnet_smallest =  λ_glment_array[i]
        println(" corresponding solution x is = ", matrix_x[:,i])
        global x_glmnet = matrix_x[:,i]

λ_smallest = 2*m*λ_glmnet_smallest

## check objecgive value
obj_glmnet = (norm(A*x_glmnet - b))^2

# finding the index of nonzero elements
Z = findall(iszero, x_glmnet)
k == n - length(Z)

using SCS
solver = SCSSolver()
using Convex

x = Variable(n)
objective = sumsquares(A * x - b)
problem = minimize(objective)
for j = 1:length(Z)
    problem.constraints += [x[Z[j]] == 0.0]
solve!(problem, solver)
x_convex = x.value

function polish(x)
    n = length(x)
    x_polished = x
    for i in 1:n
        if abs(x[i]) <= 1e-5
            x_polished[i] = 0
    return x_polished

x_convex_polished = polish(x_convex)

obj_convex = norm(A*x_convex_polished - b)^2

using JLD2

println("saving the data now...")

@save "lasso_data.jld2" A b λ_glment_array x_glmnet x_convex_polished obj_glmnet obj_convex

println("done running the code :)")

Shell script to submit the job

Now we are going to create a shell script that will be used to submit the job. The code for the shell script is below. Please save it in a text file, and name it


#SBATCH -o lasso_results.txt
#SBATCH --nodes=1 # Number of node
#SBATCH --ntasks=1 # Number of tasks
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=32 # How many threads to assign
#SBATCH --mem=32G # Hom much memory 

# Initialize the module command first source
source /etc/profile

# Load Julia Module
# Find out the list of modules available by running the command
#  module avail
module load julia/1.5.2

# Call your script as you would from the command line
julia lasso.jl

Submitting the job

Now log in to MIT supercloud, copy the files created above to your working directory, and run the following command.


If we need more memory

Here we should keep in mind that MIT supercloud nodes have 16 cores and 64 GB of RAM in total. As a result, each core has about 4 GB. So if our job requires a certain amount of memory, we need to allocate memory accordingly. For example, if our program needs roughly 32 GB memory, then we need to allocate 8 cores, which can be done by running the following command.

LLsub -s 8

Observing the status of the submitted job

After submitting the job, we can check the status of our jobs by running the following command


which will have an output like:

LLGrid: txe1 (running slurm 19.05.5)
17019     40986      run_lasso       Student  2020-10-19T15:35:46 normal     1     xeon-e5   5G          R   gpu-2
17214     40980      myJob1       Student  2020-10-19T15:35:37 normal     1     xeon-e5   5G          R   gpu-2

Killing a job

If we want to kill one of the jobs, e.g., run_lasso, then we can do that by running the following command:

LLkill 17019

Installing updated Julia package

Sometimes due to conflicts, one may have trouble installing an updated version of a Julia package. In that case run the following code.

First, on bash: (if necessary, you can add the following to the .bashrc file)

export TMPDIR=/home/gridsan/tim/TMPDIR/ 
# change the default /tmp directory, ensure that the   
# TMPDIR folder exists in the user folder exists
# you can check if the folder changed by running 
# julia>  tempdir()

# remove the shared version of julia load path
# you check the JULIA_LOAD_PATH by running 
# julia> LOAD_PATH

export JULIA_DEPOT_PATH=/home/gridsan/tim/.julia/ 
# remove the shared 
# version of julia depot path
# you check the JULIA_LOAD_PATH by running 
# julia> DEPOT_PATH

julia # start julia

Then in Julia run:

add JLD2@0.4.11 # or any version that you want

Going forward one need not run these extra steps, just loading the Julia module suffices.

Editing .bashrc and ~/.jupyter/llsc_notebook_bashrc to customize path and library locations

If you are using custom libraries, softwares etc, then you need to modify environment variable accordingly. It is most convenient just to modify those environment variables, directly from .bashrc and ~/.jupyter/llsc_notebook_bashrc so that when we are using the supercloud terminal and Jupyter notebook, these environment variables are loaded automatically. For example, I have modified my environment variables, by adding the following to .bashrc and ~/.jupyter/llsc_notebook_bashrc. The file .bashrc is located in the home folder and the llsc_notebook_bashrc is located in home/.jupyter folder.

# Gurobi license

export GUROBI_HOME="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/Gurobi_9_5/gurobi950/linux64/"
export PATH="${PATH}:${GUROBI_HOME}/bin"

# Knitro license

export KNITRO_HOME="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/Knitro/knitro-12.4.0-Linux-64/"
export PATH="${PATH}:${KNITRO_HOME}/knitroampl/"
export ARTELYS_LICENSE="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/Knitro/knitro-12.4.0-Linux-64/artelys_lic_2021-07-14_trial_full_knitro_12.4_Das_Gupta_a8-f1-c1-5c-c4.txt"
export PATH="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/.local/bin/:$PATH"

# Pardiso related paths in Julia

export PATH="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/sdgupta_lib/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/:$PATH"
export PATH="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/sdgupta_lib/usr/lib/llvm-10/lib/:$PATH"
export PATH="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/sdgupta_lib/usr/lib/llvm-10/include/openmp/:$PATH"
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}:/home/gridsan/sdgupta/libpardiso/"
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}:/home/sdgupta_lib/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/"

# number of threads to be used by Pardiso

export OMP_NUM_THREADS=32 
export PATH="/home/gridsan/sdgupta/automake_1_16_1_installation_files/:$PATH"

A very good link for understanding slurm scripts (how to write the .sh file) is: