June 7, 2017 Adem Bilican No comments

How to launch a job on SGE based clusters ?

As bioinformaticians, we often have to deal with computer clusters. There are different computer cluster systems available such as SGE, LSF… Although the main idea is the same, the commands used to submit a job might be slightly different. In this article I will quickly show how to submit a job to an SGE (Sun Grid Engine) based cluster.

There are two main commands that are very useful :

  • qsub: to submit a job to the cluster
  • qstat: to check the jobs you submitted to the cluster

There are two ways to submit a job to a cluster:

1 – Submission via a script

An example of a script is shown below, let’s call the script file jobscript.sh. In this case, it is essential to specify all the parameters as header of the script.

#$ -N jobName
#$ -q jobQueue
#$ -o /path_to/jobs.out
#$ -e /path_to/jobs.err
cd /folder

Here, we are starting a job with the following parameters:

  • -N: name of the job
  • -q: queue on which to run the job
  • -o: path to the output file
  • -e: path to the error file
  • The rest of the script correspond to the commands we want to run

Some additional helpful headers are as follow:

  • -pe smp 8: number of threads to use for the job (here 8)
  • -cwd: start the job on current working directory
  • -M: email address (to get notifications about the job status)
  • -m [b,e,a,s,n]: status to be notified about (beginning, end, aborted, suspended, no mail)

For more information see: http://gridscheduler.sourceforge.net/htmlman/htmlman1/qsub.html

To start your job, you need to run

qsub jobscript.sh

2 – Direct submission from the command line

There is an alternative way to submit a job from the command line.

qsub -N jobName -q jobQueue -o /path_to/jobs.out -e /path_to/jobs.err [ENTER]

cd /folder [ENTER]


This way the job will be submitted as soon as you press Ctrl+D. You can use several commands by pressing ENTER to separate each of them and start the job by pressing Ctrl+D after the last command.

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