GPU Computing

See also

Introductory tutorial: GPU computing (read this first)


Triton has GPU cards from four different Nvidia generations, as described below.

Hardware breakdown

Card total amount nodes architecture compute threads per GPU memory per card CUDA compute capability Slurm feature name Slurm gres name
Tesla M2090 22 gpu[1-11] Fermi 512 6G 2.0 fermi m2090
Tesla M2070 6 gpu[17-19] Fermi 448 6G 2.0 fermi m2070
Tesla M2050 10 gpu[12-16] Fermi 448 3G 2.0 fermi m2050
Tesla K80* 12 gpu[20-22] Kepler 2x2496 2x12GB 3.7 kepler teslak80
Tesla P100 20 gpu[23-27] Pascal 3854 16GB 6.0 pascal teslap100
Tesla V100 16 dgx[01-02] Volta 5120 16GB 7.0 volta v100
  • Note: Tesla K80 cards are in essence two GK210 GPUs on a single chip
  • Note: V100 cards are part of DGX machines, which were purchased by several groups and are currently special access only. They are also a different operating system, please see Nvidia DGX machines.

Detail info about cards available at and for general info about Nvidia GPUs

Using GPU nodes

GPU partitions

There are two queues governing these nodes: gpu and gpushort, where the latter is for jobs up to 4 hours. Partitions are automatically selected.

The latest details can always be found with the following command:

$ slurm p | grep gpu

GPU node allocation

For gpu resource allocation one has to request a GPU resource, with --gres=gpu:N , where N stands for number of requested GPU cards. To request a GPU with a certain architecture, use --constraint=GENERATION. To request a specific card, one must use syntax --gres=gpu:CARD_TYPE:N. See the table below for “slurm feature name” or “Slurm gres name”. For the full current list of configured SLURM gpu cards names run slurm features.

Example usages:

--gres=gpu:1 --constraint=pascal

Note: Before summer 2016, you also had to specify a GPU partition with -p gpu or -p gpushort. Now, this is automatically detected and the recommendation is to leave it off.

When using multiple GPU’s please verify that the code actually uses them with instructions given in Monitoring GPU usage.

GPU nodes environment and CUDA

User environment on gpu* nodes is the same as on other nodes, the only difference is that they have nvidia kernel modules for Tesla cards. CUDA comes through module.

$ module avail CUDA    # list installed CUDA modules
$ module load CUDA/7.5.18   # load CUDA environment that you need
$ nvcc --version   # see actual CUDA version that you got

Running a GPU job in serial

Quick interactive run:

$ module load CUDA
$ srun -t 00:30:00 --gres=gpu:1 $WRKDIR/my_gpu_binary

Allocating a gpu node for longer interactive session, this will give you a shell sessions:

$ module load CUDA
$ sinteractive -t 4:00:00 --gres=gpu:1
gpuXX$ .... run something
gpuXX$ exit

Run a batch job

$ sbatch

Where is


#SBATCH --time=01:15:00          ## wallclock time hh:mm:ss
#SBATCH --gres=gpu:teslak80:1    ## one K80 requested

module load CUDA

## run my GPU accelerated executable, note the --gres
srun --gres=gpu:1  $WRKDIR/my_gpu_binary

Monitoring GPU usage

Currently there isn’t a good way of monitoring the gpu usage non-interactively. Interactively one can (when the job is running) ssh to the gpu node in question and run

login2$ ssh gpuxx
gpuxx$ watch -n 1 nvidia-smi

CTRL + C quits the command.

This shows the gpu usage with 1 second interval. The GPU utilized by process with PID X is shown in the first column of the second table. The first table lists the GPUs by their ID Checking the Volatile GPU-Util column gives the utilization of GPU. If your code uses less than 50% of the GPU you should try to improve the data loading / CPU part of your code as the GPU is underutilized.

If you run multi-GPU job you should verify that the all GPUs are properly utilized. For many applications one needs to use multiple CPUs to fill the GPUs with data. With badly implemented data handling multi-GPU setups can be slower than single-GPU setups.



In case you either want to compile a CUDA code or a code with GPU support, you must do it on one of the gpu nodes (because of nvidia libs installed on those nodes only).

$ sinteractive -t 1:00:00 --gres=gpu:1    # open a session on a gpu node
$ module load CUDA                        # set CUDA environment
$ nvcc -o cuda_code          # compile your CUDA code
.. or compile normally any other code with 'make'


CUDA SDK provides an extension to the well-known gnu debugger gdb. Using cuda-gdb it is possible to debug the device code natively on the GPU. In order to use the cuda-gdb, one has to compile the program with option pair -g -G, like follows:

$ nvcc -g -G -o cuda_code

See CUDA-GDB User Guide for a more information on cuda-gdb.

Applications and known issues

Check the Applications for most software.

nvidia-smi utility

Could be useful for debugging, in case one want to see the actual gpu cards available on the node. If this command returns an error, you should report that something is wrong on the node.

gpuxx$ nvidia-smi -L   # gives a list of GPU cards on the node


cudnn is available as a module. The latest version can be found with module spider cudnn. Note that (at least the later versions of) cudnn require newer cards and cannot be used on the old fermi cards. E.g. tensorflow does not run on the older fermi cards for this reason.

Nvidia MPS

Nvidia Multi-Process Service (MPS) provides a way to share a single GPU among multiple processes. It can be used to increase the GPU utilization by timesharing the GPU access, e.g. one process can upload data to the GPU while another is running a kernel. To use it one must first start the MPS server, and then CUDA calls are automatically routed via the MPS server. At the end of the job one must remember to shut it down. Example job script:

#!/bin/bash -l

#SBATCH --time=01:15:00          ## wallclock time hh:mm:ss
#SBATCH --gres=gpu:teslak80:1    ## one K80 requested

module load CUDA

## Start the MPS server
CUDA_MPS_LOG_DIRECTORY=nvidia-mps srun --gres=gpu:1 nvidia-cuda-mps-control -d&

## run my GPU accelerated executable
srun --gres=gpu:1  $WRKDIR/my_gpu_binary

## Shut down the MPS server
echo "quit" | nvidia-cuda-mps-control

CUDA samples

There are CUDA code samples provided by Nvidia that can be useful for a sake of testing or getting familiar with CUDA. Placed at $CUDA_HOME/samples. To play with:

$ sinteractive -t 1:00:00 --gres=gpu:1
$ module load CUDA
$ cp -r $CUDA_HOME/samples $WRKDIR
$ cd $WRKDIR/samples
$ make TARGET_ARCH=x86_64
$ ./bin/x86_64/linux/release/deviceQuery
$ ./bin/x86_64/linux/release/bandwidthTest