Starting PRRTE

The PMIx Reference RunTime Environment (PRRTE) is started by a simple execution of the prte command. The server does not have an internal scheduler, and thus must be given an allocation of resources for its use. This can be done by obtaining an allocation in either of two ways:

  • If you are operating in a managed environment (i.e., under the control of a resource manager such as Slurm or PBSPro), then you must first obtain an allocation before starting PRRTE. The prte executable knows how to automatically pickup the allocation for most available RMs, and so nothing need be added to the cmd line. The PRRTE package will usually identify the presence of the managed environment and configure itself accordingly – if the environment was not installed in a standard location, then you may need to point the configure code to it with an appropriate configure option.
  • If you are operating in an unmanaged environment, then you need to provide either a hostfile (sometimes called a “machinefile”) that specifies the hosts to be used, or a -host list of hosts to be used.
    • for -hostfile filename, the file consists of a single line/host that starts with the name of the host. You can optionally add a “slots=N” to indicate the number of process that can be assigned to the host. If this is not provided, then psrvr will automatically detect the number of cores on each node and set the slots to that number
    • In the -host case, be aware that each listed host will be assigned only a single slot for a process – this can be changed by adding the “:N” modifier to the host name to indicate the number of processes that can be assigned to that host. For example, the cmd line:
      $ prte -host foo:13,bar:21
      will launch PRRTE on host foo (assigning 13 slots for processes on that node) and on bar (assigning 21 slots on that node).

prte will launch a daemon on each node to create a distributed virtual machine, and will print “DVM ready” when complete. At this point, the server is ready to accept commands and execute applications.

Multiple users can each launch their own PRRTE across the same nodes – this is often helpful on unmanaged development clusters. Each daemon (plus prte itself) includes a PMIx server that will “drop” a local rendezvous point by which tools such as prun can automatically connect to it. These are placed in locations that include both the nodename and the user id in their path to avoid conflict. prun will automatically find the PRRTE instance associated with the user when executing applications.

Note that daemons can also be started with the –system-server option to simulate the situation where a PMIx-enabled RM resides on the system, with (perhaps multiple) PMIx-enabled jobs executing beneath it – note that only one daemon can be so designated per node.

The server does not automatically place itself into the background – you can direct it to do so using the standard methods, if you so choose. The prte command supports a number of options – you are welcome to use “–help” to investigate them.

When you are done, the server can be terminated with the prun –terminate command.

Running non-MPI Applications

Running applications using PRRTE is relatively simple. It starts with prepending the install location for PRRTE to your PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH environmental variables. This ensures that you will correctly access PRRTE’s tools and libraries.

Non-MPI applications that utilize PMIx can be compiled using the pcc wrapper compiler. PRRTE automatically builds all dependencies into it, including pointing the compiler to the installed PMIx headers and libraries. You can see the final command line issued by the wrapper compiler using the “–showme” option:


$ pcc --showme
gcc -I/home/common/pmix/build/psrv/include/openmpi -I/home/common/local/include -I/home/common/pmix/build/psrv/include -pthread -L/home/common/local/lib -L/home/common/local/lib64 -Wl,-rpath -Wl,/home/common/local/lib -Wl,-rpath -Wl,/home/common/local/lib64 -Wl,-rpath -Wl,/home/common/pmix/build/psrv/lib -Wl,--enable-new-dtags -lpmix -L/home/common/pmix/build/psrv/lib -lpsrvropen-pal

Executing an application requires that PRRTE first be started as per the above directions. Once the server is ready, applications can be executed via the prun command. As with prte, prun supports a number of options – you are welcome to use “–help” to investigate them. Most importantly, the “–terminate” option is used to order PRRTE to stop, terminate its daemons, cleanup any temporary files, and exit.

Running MPI Applications

PRRTE is quite capable of executing any PMIx-based MPI applications. Doing so with Open MPI, however, requires a little care when configuring the two code bases as they share common symbols – PRRTE is itself a fork of the Open MPI master branch that has been tailored to operate as a standalone system. The points of contact are the PMIx library itself, the libevent library, and the hwloc library that are used by both code bases. Accordingly, it is required that both OMPI and PRRTE code bases be configured against a common copy of these packages. For instructions on how to properly do this, see here.

We recommend that non-OMPI MPI packages also build against the common PMIx package being used by PRRTE. Again, this isn’t required, although the PMIx version being used by the MPI package must at least be at version 2.1.1.

With the packages all built and installed, ensure that you have both the PRRTE and MPI install locations prepended to your PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH. Compile any MPI applications using their corresponding wrapper compiler, and any non-MPI PMIx-based applications using the PRRTE-provided pcc wrapper compiler. Execution of an application is then done as described above – there is nothing special required (e.g., command-line options) for an MPI application.