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Interactive Sessions

Sometimes it is necessary to run software - or a combination of software - directly from the command line on a node (e.g. for data analysis and manipulation). For example:

[..]$ srun --job-name "InteractiveJob" --cpus-per-task 24 --mem-per-cpu 3900 --time 1-00:00:00 --pty bash

The SLURM scheduler will allocate the requested resource (if available), in this example 24 proccessors and 3900MB of RAM memory per processor, from the default partition. The run will last for 1 day (0-00:00:00 : D-HH:MM:SS).


It is important to always define --mem-per-cpu, and it is recommended to set it to minimum 3900MB per cpu-core. You can request more memory if needed.

The SLURM queue rules and limits still apply here.

When the interactive session stars you will be logged into a compute node:


To request a particular partition (pname):

[..]$ srun --job-name "InteractiveJob" --partition <pname> --cpus-per-task 32 --mem-per-cpu 3900 --time 1-00:00:00 --pty bash

After you have completed your work in your interactive session, please end the session to make the resource available to other users:

[<uname>@compute-xx]$ exit

Maintained Interactive Sessions#

Interactive session are closed if the user looses connection or closes the terminal window. In order to maintain an interactive session you can make use of tmux.

First activate tmux:

[..]$ tmux

and start an interactive session:

[..]$ srun --job-name “InteractiveJob” --cpus-per-task 32 --mem-per-cpu 3900 --time 1-00:00:00 --pty bash

You interactive session is now attached to tmux. After starting your calculation you can close the terminal window. You can also detach from the tmux session and return to the log in node by pressing ctrl+b followed by d. Your job will still be running.

To activate the session again after logging in to Elja:

[..]$ tmux attach

When you are done working (and you have ended the interactive session) please remember to also end the tmux session like this:

[..]$ tmux kill-session

Multiple Interactive Sessions#

You can start new or multiple tmux sessions, and it is suggested to give each session a name. Here we start a session called inter-1

[..]$ tmux new -s inter-1

followed by an interactive run. After closing or detaching you can connect to the named session again like this:

[..]$ tmux attach-session -t inter-1

When you are done with the work (and ended the srun), you can end a named session like this:

[..]$ tmux kill-session -t inter-1

When you are finished with running your job interactively (whether using tmux or not) on a compute node it is important to end the interactive session:

[<uname>@compute-xx]$ exit

If you are unsure of how to connect back to the node you can always list your active jobs like this:

[..]$ squeue -u $USER
11729 48cpu_192 Interact <uname> R 2:10 1 compute-17

and end the job using the JOBID (in this example 11729)

[..]$ scancel 11729