HPC software environment


On our HPCs we provide a Linux bash environment. Many basic Linux commands are available immediately. Other especially high level user applications and libraries need to be loaded using modules. The present Lmod module system provides the possibility to have various packages side-by-side and even in different versions, while preventing unwanted influences. Furthermore, various software versions are build for the different CPU architectures. They are organized in different software stacks, which are loaded automatically on the related architecture.

Additionally to our software stack, VITAL-IT provides a software stack targeting mainly bioinformatics users, see Bioinformatics Software.

Basic commands

in the following you find commands for listing, loading and unloading modules. Later a more advanced view is presented.

List available Modules

There are various ways to search for a software package. You can list all currently available packages using:

module avail

You can search for an packages starting with a specific string, e.g. all version of GCC:

module avail GCC

Furthermore, the following command lists you all the modules containing a certain sub-string in the name, even in other software stacks, e.g.:

module spider Assambler
In the example above all modules with the sub-string Assambler will be listed, in this case the ones from the Vital-It software stack.

Load/Add a Modules

module load OpenMPI/3.1.3-GCC-8.2.0-2.31.1

or equivalently:

$ module add OpenMPI/3.1.3-GCC-8.2.0-2.31.1

This may also load modules of dependencies, e.g. by loading OpenMPI, other modules like GCC and libraries are additionally loaded.

List all Loaded Modules

$ module list

Currently Loaded Modules:
  1) GCCcore/8.2.0                    3) binutils/.2.31.1-GCCcore-8.2.0 (H)   5) numactl/2.0.12-GCCcore-8.2.0       7) libxml2/.2.9.8-GCCcore-8.2.0     (H)   9) hwloc/1.11.11-GCCcore-8.2.0
  2) zlib/.1.2.11-GCCcore-8.2.0 (H)   4) GCC/8.2.0-2.31.1                     6) XZ/.5.2.4-GCCcore-8.2.0      (H)   8) libpciaccess/.0.14-GCCcore-8.2.0 (H)  10) OpenMPI/3.1.3-GCC-8.2.0-2.31.1

   H:  Hidden Module

Unload/remove a Modules

This will only unload the specified modulefile, but not the dependencies that where automatically loaded when loading the specified modulefile (see purge below).

$ module unload OpenMPI/3.1.3-GCC-8.2.0-2.31.1
or equivalently:

$ module rm OpenMPI/3.1.3-GCC-8.2.0-2.31.1

Purge all Modules

This will unload all previously loaded modulefiles.

$ module purge

Show information

Most modules provide a short description which software package they contain and a link to the homepage, as well as information about the changes of environment undertaken. From short to full detail:

$ module whatis OpenMPI
$ module help OpenMPI
$ module show OpenMPI

Modules background

Architectural software stacks

On our HPCs we use LMOD (Lua modules) to provide access to different software packages and different versions. Beside different packages and versions, we provide software stacks build for the different CPU architectures. This enables us to have the packages build e.g. with AVX2 for Broadwell CPUs, but also a version with only SSE4 for Sandy bridge CPUs. These software stacks are completely transparent to the user and will be used automatically when loading a module on the related architecture.

If you want to build your own software build for specific Hardware, we provide tools which help you, see Installing Custom Software

Scientific Software Management

Our scientific software stack, available via module files are mainly build with EasyBuild. This tool helps us to install and maintain software packages and recycle existing installation procedures. There are plenty of install instructions available EasyBuild/Easyconfigs, which can be installed also in the user space with low effort, see Installing Custom Software