Job Work Directory

A job has multiple choices for its work directory, i.e., the directory where it does its work:

  • Project area (/custer/projects/<projname>)
  • $USERWORK (/cluster/work/users/$USER)
  • $SCRATCH (/cluster/work/jobs/$SLURM_JOB_ID)

There are different pros and cons with each of the choices. See Storage Areas for details.

Currently, the recommended choice is to use the $USERWORK area. It provides a nice balance between auto-cleanup and simplicity. Thus the job script examples in this documentation will use $USERWORK.

We do not recommend running jobs in your home directory, mainly because the home directory quotas are small, so you risk your jobs failing due to not being able to write to disk. Also, the home directories are private, so you would have to move the files to your project area for others to be able to access them.

When using $USERWORK, it is a good idea to make sure that each job runs in its own subdirectory. This reduces the risk of jobs interferring with each other. One easy way to do that is to use the following in the job script:

## Create and move to work dir
workdir=$USERWORK/$SLURM_JOB_ID
mkdir -p $workdir
cd $workdir

Please remember to copy result files that you want to keep from $USERWORK to your project area after the job has finished, because files in $USERWORK are removed after a number of days.

If you are going to use $SCRATCH, there are two commands that can be used in the job script to make sure result files are copied back even if the job crashes before it finishes. (They don't give a 100% guarantee: if the compute node itself crashes before the job finishes, then the files will not be copied.)

## Make sure file1, file2, etc are copied back to
## $SLURM_SUBMIT_DIR at the end of the job:
savefile <file1> <file2> ...

## Register a command to be run at the end of the job to copy
## files somewhere
cleanup <somecommand>

Both commands should be used in the job script before starting the main computation. Also, if they contain any special characters like *, they should be quoted.

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