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  • There is a Matlab portal for Michigan State University users at Users are encouraged to visit it for information and support provided by Mathworks.
  • Several versions of MATLAB are installed on the cluster. By default, MATLAB/2018a is loaded. Other available version of MATLAB can be discovered by typing

    hpc@dev-intel18:~> module spider MATLAB

    and then switching to a different version, for example, to switch from 2018a to 2017a, one can directly load the the version as

    hpc@dev-intel18:~> module load MATLAB/2019a 
  • MATLAB's many built-in functions have multi-threaded capability. On your personal computer, when a MATLAB function with multi-threads is called, MATLAB will automatically spawn as many threads as the number of cores on the machine. To avoid over utilizing compute nodes on HPCC, user should set the max number of threads by using maxNumCompThreads(N)” in matlab where N is the maximum number of threads matlab would use in the session. User could also use option "-SingleCompThread" to launch matlab session that would only use single thread. Without the option, matlab session will potentially spawn as many as 28 (on intel16 nodes) or 20 (on intel14 nodes) threads when a built-in multi-threaded function is called. To allow the multi-thread functions in matlab, users need to do the following:
    1.  Specify the maximum number of compute threads to be used with  " maxNumCompThreads(N) " at the beginning of the matlab program where N is the maximum number of threads in the program. For example, maxNumCompThreads(4) will set the maximum number of threads used in the program to four.  
    2. If submit to run as batch job, specify "--cpus-per-task=N" in your job script where N should match the maximum number of compute threads set in "maxNumCompThreads(N)". 

Starting Nov. 1, 2018 on new HPCC system, the matlab default setting of using single compute thread is changed. “matlab-mt” and “matlab” commands would be the same for current versions and "matlab-mt" will no longer exist from later versions starting 2019.

  • HPCC has many toolboxes installed. To see a list of installed toolboxes and licenses, type

    hpc@dev-intel18:~> module load powertools
    hpc@dev-intel18:~> licensecheck matlab
    Checking Licenses for matlab
      lmstat -a -c 27000@lm-02.i
    Users of MATLAB:  (Total of 10000 licenses issued;  Total of 44 licenses in use)
    Users of SIMULINK:  (Total of 10000 licenses issued;  Total of 1 license in use)
    Users of Bioinformatics_Toolbox:  (Total of 10000 licenses issued;  Total of 0 licenses in use)
    Users of Communication_Toolbox:  (Total of 10000 licenses issued;  Total of 0 licenses in use)

    Running MATLAB on Scratch Space

    It is strongly recommended that iCER users run programs on scratch space. This may improve the speed of job execution as well as the whole system's performance. MATLAB users should carefully check whether any temporary files involved in the program execution need to be stored in scratch space. For example, if you use the Matlab compiler to make a Matlab program into a standalone program, you need to set the environment variable MCR_CACHE_ROOT in the scratch directory with: export MCR_CACHE_ROOT=$SCRATCH before starting the execution. This line should be added to the your job script before the line where you specify the task you want to run. This setting will override the default setting by MATLAB Compiler Runtime. By default, a directory for temporary data cache used by the MATLAB Compiler Runtime is created at user's home directory $HOME. Without this setting, users may run into the situation that the program running on scratch space  frequently access to its cache space in the home space which will greatly slow down the execution of the code, and as well, may potentially slow down the whole system or even cause system instability.  

Running MATLAB Interactively

In this document, we refer to an interactive session as one that involves a user typing commands into the MATLAB command windows.

Short Sessions (< two hours)

  • ssh to one of the dev nodes and run Matlab:

    hpc@gateway:~> ssh dev-intel16
    Last login: Mon Dec  4 12:54:44 2017 from gateway
    This front-end node is not meant for running big or long-running jobs.  Jobs
    that need to run longer than a few minutes should be submitted to the queue.
    Long-running jobs on front-end nodes will be killed without warning.
    hpc@dev-intel16:~> matlab -nodisplay

    More information about running jobs interactively can be reviewed at Running Programs Interactively

  • If you require graphics, please ensure that you have an Xserver running. For Linux and MAC users,

    ssh -X

    Windows users, please review Installing an X-server on Windows. If an Xserver is running, type

    hpc@dev-intel16:~> matlab

    If you want graphics, but don't want the desktop, type

    hpc@dev-intel16:~> matlab -nodesktop

    Interactive MATLAB jobs running on development nodes are limited to a two hour wall time limit, and will be killed automatically after two hours.

Long Sessions (> two hours)

Longer interactive sessions are possible, but are not recommended. Modify the following commands to suit your requirements.

  • If graphics are not required,

    hpc@dev-intel18:-> salloc --nodes=1 --ntasks=1 --cpus-per-task=1 --mem=2gb --time=04:00:00 
    salloc: Granted job allocation 310982
    salloc: Waiting for resource configuration
    salloc: Nodes lac-376 are ready for job
    hpc@dev-intel18:-> matlab -nodisplay 
  • If graphics are required, add the option "–x11" to the salloc command:

    hpc@dev-intel18:-> salloc --nodes=1 --ntasks=1 --cpus-per-task=1 --mem=2gb --time=04:00:00 --x11

    The above commands submit a job to the cluster. If the resources are not immediately available, you will have to wait till the requested resources are available. Requesting a job for four hours or less will typically be scheduled relatively quickly. User may need to adjust the resources accordingly with the usage of the MATLAB program.

Running MATLAB Non-Interactively

Short Jobs (< two hours)

A short job could be run on develop node without open matlab command window. From a development node, type

hpc@dev-intel16:~> matlab -nodisplay -r "myMatlab" &

"myMatlab.m" will start running in background.

Long Jobs (> two hours)

Single MATLAB Job

To submit jobs to the cluster, a job script needs to be written. And submitted to the queue. The following
sample job script file can be modified to suit your needs:

#!/bin/bash -login
#SBATCH --job-name=myJobName             # specify a job name
#SBATCH --nodes=1 --ntasks=1 --cpus-per-task=1 --time=02:05:00 --mem=550mb      # specify the resources needed
#SBATCH --license=matlab@27000@lm-02.i          # specify the license request

cd $SLURM_SUBMIT_DIR                            # go to the directory where this job is submitted
matlab -nodisplay -r "myMatlab"
  • myJobName is a string to make your job easier to identify it when managing or monitoring your jobs.
  • --nodes=1 because you are running one matlab client in the job. If you want put multiple matlab run in a single job script, you may request more nodes for the job.
  • --cpus-per-task=1 here because the matlab script "MyMatlab.m" does not use multi cores. If you are using multicore parallel, you may need to request more cpus.
  • 02:05:00 is the number of hours:minutes:seconds your job needs to run. If it runs longer than this, it will be killed. If you request more time than you need, your job may be delayed while the scheduler finds a time to run it. If you don't know how long your job needs, you will have to make a guess and use the real running time to improve this number on future runs. The maximum walltime that can be requested is 168:00:00.
  • --mem=550mb reserves 550 Maga bytes of total memory for the job. We recommend user to serve at least 550mb for each session plus the total size of data variables used in the computation. User could click here to see the recommendation of the matlab requirement by Mathworks.
  • myMatlab is the name of your matlab script without the .m extension

Submit your job with:

hpc@dev-intel16:~> sbatch myJob.sbatch
  • myJob.sbatch is what you named the previous script.

Using the MATLAB Parallel Computing Toolbox

The MATLAB Parallel Computing Toolbox (PCT) provides users several parallel computing features. 

  •  Parallel for-loops (parfor) .  (User could run "module load powertools; getexample MATLAB_parfor" to down load a directory "MATLAB_parfor" which contains an example of using parpool and parfor with "local" profile)
  • Support GPU computing
  • Offload computing from your laptop to HPCC cluster (with MATLAB Distributed Computing Server) 
  • Distributed arrays and spmd (single-program-multiple-data) for large dataset handling and data-parallel algorithms

    (1) One GPU card will be used for each worker. In order to use multiple GPUs, user need to use spmd capability that each instance of the program will use one card and multiple instances of the program take multiple cards.

    (2) If you use GPU capability, you need to have matlab run on a node with GPU. dev-intel14-k20, dev-intel16-k80 are the develop nodes with GPU. To request for GPU, use "–gres=gpu:<type>:<number>" to request certain number and type of GPU. "#SBATCH --gres=gpu:k20:1" is an example to request one k20 GPU. Valid GPU type are k20, k80 and v100. Note that type is optional. But the number of GPU is necessary.


Using the MATLAB Parallel Server

The MATLAB Parallel Server lets users solve computationally and data-intensive problems by executing MATLAB and Simulink based applications on the HPCC cluster and clouds. (see for more information). HPCC cluster has this produce installed.

We recommend that users prototype their applications using the Parallel Computing Toolbox, and then scale up to a cluster using MATLAB Parallel Server. To scale up to cluster, user does not need to recode the program. User only need to change the profile of the cluster. 

Setup and validate your cluster profile

In this step you define a cluster profile to be used in subsequent steps.

  1. Start the Cluster Profile Manager from the MATLAB desktop by selecting on the Home tab in the Environment area Parallel > Create and Manage Clusters

  2. Create a new profile in the Cluster Profile Manager by selecting Add Cluster Profile > Slurm.

  3. With the new profile selected in the list, click Rename to edit the profile name, Press Enter.

  4. Select a profile in the list, click Edit to edit the profile accordingly. After finishing editing, click Done to save the profile.
  5. Click validation to validate the profile. The profile could be used when it pass all the validation tests.

(1) Since we switch to SLURM scheduler, the command "configCluster" used to configure the cluster on HPCC no longer works. The class "ClusterInfo" does not work either.

(2) Starting from version 2018a, MATLAB supports SLURM scheduler. Please refer to Mathworks' document for how to configure the cluster with SLURM scheduler.

Using the MATLAB thread-based worker pool

Started from Matlab version R2020a, thread-based worker pool is introduced. Please refer to for more details. On HPCC, we provide our users an example showing how to use thread-base pool with parfor, as well as the comparison between process-based and thread-based pools. To obtain the example, module load "powertools" and "MATLAB/2020a", then run "getexample MATLAB_threadPool". 

Running the MATLAB/2020a on AMD nodes 

There is a bug in MATLAB/2020a that would lead to "segmentation fault" on AMD node associated with java virtual machine. The patch may be introduce in next release. If you find that the code works on other version but crashed in 2020a version, you may try the workaround that launch the matlab session without java virtual machine as the following:

hpc@eval-epyc19 ~]$ matlab -nodisplay -nojvm -r "myExample"

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