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The shared memory parallel processor euler.cs.ubc.ca is available for the use of faculty, staff, postdocs and students in the Scientific Computing Lab (SCL). It has a lot of main memory (128 GB) but a relatively small number of processors (4 dual core), so it is best suited for jobs with large memory requirements but little or no parallelism. For jobs more suitable to highly parallel cluster environments, consider using the WestGrid machines (which also has very powerful batching systems), or other clusters in the CS Department.

Rather than institute a heavy-duty batching system, we would prefer to allow everybody interactive access to euler whenever the mood to code strikes. In order for this protocol (or lack thereof) to work, everybody has to behave nicely. Before starting a large job, a long job or lots of jobs, use the command top to examine the current machine load. If the CPUs, memory or swap are in heavy use, maybe your job can wait a little bit.

Mailing list for users

However, there will be times when (near) exclusive use of euler is necessary. In order to minimize conflicts and extraneous coordinating email, we have set up a mailing list scl-compute so that users of euler can inform each other of such situations without bothering the rest of the lab.

If you are using euler, please subscribe to the mailing list by sending an email message containing the text "subscribe scl-compute" to majordomo@cs.ubc.ca. Other mailing list commands (eg unsubscribe, info, etc.) are standard to the majordomo system.

If you will need exclusive or near exclusive access to euler for some period of time, please send an email specifying the time period to scl-compute@cs.ubc.ca -- preferably several days in advance -- to warn other users. The same holds true if you plan to run a job or jobs that will take a long period of time (eg several days or more) and occupy a significant amount of memory (eg 32 GB or more) even if you do not need exclusive access.

If you find that somebody is interfering with exclusive access despite a notice posted to scl-compute (probably by looking at top), please email that user directly (with a copy to Ian Mitchell) and request that the job(s) be stopped.

Users from outside of the Scientific Computing Lab

Although priority is given to members of SCL, everybody in the CS department has access to euler for compute purposes. If you think that you might want to use euler in the future, please join the mailing list as described above so that you can find a suitable quiet period in which to run your jobs. If you have a large job to run, please follow the protocol for the mailing list.

Basic Statistics

Hardware ArchitectureSun x4600
Processors4 x AMD 2.8GHz Dual Core
Main memory128GB RAM (that's right -- GB)
Local disk4 x 146GB HD
Operating SystemOpenSuSE 10.3 (64 bit Linux)

NUMA memory architecture

Note that this machine is a Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) architecture. In other words, it is shared memory -- every processor can access all of the memory -- but the time it takes to access the memory varies significantly. Each dual core processor has 32 GB directly attached, which will be significantly faster to access for that processor than the remaining 96 GB attached to the other processors. However, all main memory will be much quicker than either network or disk access.

Local disk space

The local disks are primarily intended for high bandwidth, low latency swap and temporary space. There are three directories (/tmp, /var/tmp and /var/tmp2) with no quota restrictions for temporary files. There is about 245 GB disk space shared by swap (eg virtual memory) and /tmp. Note that /tmp is erased after a reboot. There are also about 137 GB in each of /var/tmp and /var/tmp2, which is space that will not be erased after a reboot.

Share the space & clean up when you are done

Keep in mind that main memory and these three directories on the local hard drives are shared resources and are intended to be used for active computations only. When they fill up, bad things might happen (and a single full memory dump will almost fill them up). If you want to save files over the longer term, use your home directories or the /scl network drive space -- slightly slower to access than the drives that are local to the machine, but those network drives are backed up and we can get more space if we need it.


There should be the usual array of software available on the machine, including the gnu compilers, emacs and Matlab. Please let Ian Mitchell know if you identify anything else that you want but is not installed so that I can pass it along to the tech staff.


The desktop givens.cs.ubc.ca has been purchased as a "visualization workstation." The machine is sitting in the lab, so anybody is welcome to use it either in person or by remote login.

Basic Statistics

Hardware ArchitectureStandard Intel Workstation
ProcessorsCore 2 Duo 3GHz
Main memory8GB RAM
Local disk160GB
Operating SystemOpenSuSE

Special Features

We added a mid-range programmable NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 video card to givens. This card has 512MB internal RAM and 112 parallel processing cores, and can be used for either high end visualization or some types of parallel scientific computing. The card supports NVIDIA's CUDA, which is a general purpose parallel computing architecture used by many of NVIDIA's graphics cards. You can download libraries for FFT and BLAS, program it in C, and even do some Matlab, in some cases demonstrating significant speedups.

Feel free to try some GPU scientific computing on givens. If you run into any difficulties with the current configuration (eg: the GPU does not work, drivers are missing, you need a different OS, the monitor or physical location is poor, etc.) please let Ian Mitchell know -- we have started with a department standard installation, but would be happy to modify it if that would make the machine more useful.

Using givens

If you are planning to use givens for any significant work, please read and follow the protocols listed above for euler. In particular, please subscribe to the scl-compute mailing list so that you will be kept up-to-date on any system issues.