Gizmo Node Beta

Updated: April 1, 2020

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This page describes the new gizmo cluster nodes, some of the differences between these new systems, and using these systems during this beta period.

The Hardware

Currently we have four “classes” of node in service: F, G, H, and J. Each class represents compute nodes with different capabilities, processors, and memory. These new systems will be the “K” class of nodes. These new systems have two Intel 6254 processors each with 18 cores (for 36 cores per node total) and running with processor speeds between 3.10 and 4.0 GHz. These have been configured with 768GB of RAM and 6TB of node-local storage. The full list of specifications can be found below.

Each node is also equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU. These can be requested as part of your job submission request.

Along with these new nodes there are three new Rhino-class hosts to provide interactive and login sessions. These have the same 36 physical cores, but hyperthreading is enabled which increases the number of cores presented to 72.

The Software

The software stack is significantly different from what is currently on gizmo:

  • The base OS has been upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic) from the venerable 14.04 (Trusty) currently installed
  • The applications and environment modules in app have been rebuilt for this new platform

Our goal is to make the versions of the tools you’re using on the current hosts available in these new nodes. We’ve already compiled quite a few, but if you’re missing one, email SciComp.

The base operating system installation is much leaner than on the older gizmo nodes. Thus, many tools you may have been using without loading an environment module may require that you load a module on this new platform.

Reporting Problems

Please report problems using SciComp’s ticketing system: email SciComp and indicate that your problem is with the gizmo beta nodes. Please describe the problem, including any command output, hostnames, and if or how this differs from your use of the current gizmo nodes.


First, it must be noted that this is still not a production-ready system. The limits and configuration are not set and are thus subject to change. While we’ll try to keep the “dust” to a miniumum, we will need to rebuild and reboot systems regularly.

As part of this work we are creating a mailing list for those of you participating in this beta period. We’ll be sending updates on changes and notices of upcoming outages via this list.

Usage Guidelines

As with the existing rhinos, the new rhino nodes are intended for interactive development and testing and should not be used for computationally intensive work which should be directed to the cluster nodes via Slurm.

There is currently no load management on the new rhino nodes, so please take care with your processes. We are in the process of evaluating a few different options for managing load- the current “loadwatcher” is effective but can be rather cruel at times. During this evaulation period please do your best to keep your processes from overwhelming the system.


For interactive sessions, use the host rhino03 (note the zero in the hostname). This should work the same as the existing rhinos- ssh, putty, etc. All of your existing data will be available in the same paths. The Slurm commands here work just the same as they do on existing systems.

Job Submission

IMPORTANT: Submit jobs from the host rhino03. While other systems have access to this partition, the environment is sufficiently different such that we need to use the new rhino hosts for job submission.

For the new K class nodes we need to submit jobs to a different partition- one called “campus-new”. This partition doesn’t appear in many command outputs by default (it’s hidden to prevent confusion):

sbatch -p campus-new ...

Even though these share the profile of the nodes in the “largenode” partition, there are no minimums to have jobs run. The limits are, currently, much lower as we’re trying to maximize availability during this trial period- the limit is 72 cores or 4 nodes.

The grabnode command on these new rhino class systems has been updated to use the campus-new partition. It will prompt you for job attributes just as it does today, but will get you a node on the new hosts.

Special Note for GPU Users

The GPUS can be requested in your job using the option gres:

sbatch -p campus-new --gres=gpu


We are consolidating NoMachine functions onto this new generation of nodes instead of having separate hosts (i.e. sphinx and other). Simply create a new connection to the host rhino03 as you would any of the existing NoMachine hosts.


Environment Modules Changes for Scripts

Loading modules in a script requires initializing Environment Modules. This is accomplished by sourcing the shell-specific initialization script in your script:


. /app/lmod/lmod/init/bash

ml ...

Environment Module Names

While Environment Modules on these new hosts have the same version of the tool as on the existing nodes, these have been compiled with different toolchain which requires a different module name.

For example, on these new nodes you’d load “R/3.6.2-foss-2019b” instead of “R/3.6.2-foss-2016b”

GCC and Compiling Your Own Code

As indicated, these new hosts have a very minimal number of tools and packages installed. While a basic compiler is installed on these hosts, it is strongly recommended that you use the tools provided in environment modules. These are grouped under the module named “foss” or “fosscuda” (the latter for those needing GPU support):

ml foss/2019b

NOTE: Many R and Python modules compile binaries as part of their installation process. To prevent future problems load this toolchain before you use pip install or install.packages()

X11 Support

Starting X clients will require that you load the X11 module:

ml X11

Cores and Hyperthreading

Hyperthreading creates multiple virtual cores from a single physical core. All of these hosts are capable of hyperthreading, but given the intense computational demands of most work done in our environment, it provides no benefit.

The interactive nature of the workload on the rhinos, however, makes hyperthreading a much more beneficial feature. Thus, on the rhino nodes you will see 72 cores even though these have the same number of physical cores as the K class nodes

Node Specifications

<#! insert node spec table here >

Notes for Admins

Gory details for those with the stomach and need to know.

Adding New Users

  • verify user’s group has access to “campus-new” QOS
  • add to Unix group “gizmo-beta”
  • add to “gizmo-beta-testers” mailman list


We’re using a mailman list “gizmo-beta-testers” for communicating updates and information. The management interface is here.

When adding new users, include the following text:


This is the mailing list for those participating in the gizmo beta node trial period. The wiki page “” contains much of the recent information on changes and how to use this resource.

Please use ‘’ to report problems and get assistance.

The administrator password is in LastPass. This list should be syncronized with the groups below- if someone is participating, they must be a member of the list.

Access to “campus-new” Partition

Allowing access to campus-new requires adding a user to a group and the user’s account to a QOS. The latter was done for all accounts active as of 25 March 2020 so will only be necessary as new accounts are provisioned.

User Group

This access is controlled by the group gizmo-beta. Use fhgroup to add individuals to this group.


These limits are governed by a QOS named campus-new. New accounts will need to have this QOS in their list:

sacctmgr update account where account=foo_b set qos+=campus-new

The QOS is set up as a partition QOS for the campus-new partition (PartitionQOS=campus-new). There are two TRES limits specified in MaxTRESPerUser: cpu and node limiting total cores in use to 72 and a total number of nodes in use to 4.

Updated: April 1, 2020

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