Array Jobs

To run many instances of the same job, use the --array switch to sbatch. This is useful if you have a lot of data-sets which you want to process in the same way:

sbatch --array=from-to [other sbatch switches] YourScript

You can also put the --array switch in an #SBATCH line inside the script. from and to are the first and last task number. Each instance of YourScript can use the environment variable $SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID for selecting which data set to use, etc. (The queue system calls the instances “array tasks”.) For instance:

sbatch --array=1-100 MyScript

will run 100 instances of MyScript, setting the environment variable $SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID to 1, 2, …, 100 in turn.

It is possible to specify the task ids in other ways than from-to: it can be a single number, a range (from-to), a range with a step size (from-to:step), or a comma separated list of these. Finally, adding %max at the end of the specification puts a limit on how many tasks will be allowed to run at the same time. A couple of examples:

Specification   Resulting SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_IDs
1,4,42          # 1, 4, 42
1-5             # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
0-10:2          # 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
32,56,100-200   # 32, 56, 100, 101, 102, ..., 200
1-200%10        # 1, 2, ..., 200, but maximum 10 running at the same time

Note: spaces, decimal numbers or negative numbers are not allowed.

The instances of an array job are independent, they have their own $SCRATCH and are treated like separate jobs.

To cancel all tasks of an array job, cancel the jobid that is returned by sbatch.

A small, but complete example (for a normal job on Saga):

#SBATCH --account=YourProject
#SBATCH --time=1:0:0
#SBATCH --mem-per-cpu=4G --ntasks=2
#SBATCH --array=1-200

set -o errexit # exit on errors
set -o nounset # treat unset variables as errors
module --quiet purge   # clear any inherited modules



Download the script:


Submit the script with sbatch This job will process the datasets dataset.1, dataset.2, …, dataset.200 and put the results in result.1, result.2, …, result.200.

You can also find a more extended guide here.