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TotalView from Rogue Wave Software is a parallel debugging tool that can be run with up to 512 processors.

It provides both X Windows-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) and command line interface (CLI) environments for debugging. The performance of the GUI can be greatly improved if used in conjunction with free NX software.

The TotalView documentation web page is a good resource for learning more about some of the advanced TotalView features.

Compiling Code to Run with TotalView

In order to use TotalView, code must be compiled with the -g option. With the Intel compiler, you may have to add the '-O0' flag, too. We also recommend that you do not run with optimization turned on, flags such as -fast.

Fortran Example

nersc$ ftn -g -O0 -o testTV_ex testTV.f

C Example

nersc$ cc -g -O0 -o testTV_ex testTV.c

Starting a Job with TotalView

Be sure to log in with an X window forwarding enabled. This could mean using the -X or -Y option to ssh. The -Y option often works better for Mac OSX.

nersc$ ssh -Y

Then start an interactive batch session:

cori$ salloc -N numNodes -t 30:00 -q interactive -C knl

where 'numNodes' is the number of compute nodes that you need to use. To use TotalView, first load the TotalView modulefile to set the correct environment settings with the following command:

nersc$ module load totalview

With most of the versions available on the systems, you will be able to launch the debugger with a totalview command followed by the name of the executable to debug, as you normally did before NERSC switched to Slurm for batch scheduling.:

nersc$ totalview srun -a -n numTasks ./testTV_ex


There is an issue with starting TotalView normally after the recent system OS upgrade to CLE7. The vendor is working on a fix. Until that is fixed, please add the -nomrnet flag to the above command, as in totalview -nomrnet srun -a ....

The TotalView startup GUI will pop up and show debugging startup parameters. After reviewing them, click OK.


Then, click 'Go' button in the process window (the big window showing navigation buttons).


A small window appears telling that Process srun is a parallel job and asking if you want to stop it. Click Yes.


Then, the process window will show the source code of your program.

Sometimes, you may find that a certain TotalView version (often the most recent version) cannot be started using the above method because it doesn't contain a Cray-customization for Slurm because of unavailability of one yet. For such a version you have to follow the following steps to start a debugging session. Just type 'totalview' at a Unix prompt. A window titled 'TotalView Debugger' will open.

nersc$ totalview


Click on 'A new parallel program'. This will open the 'Parallel Program Session' window. Select 'SLURM' for the Parallel System Name, and set the number of MPI tasks and the number of compute nodes used. The example below is to start a 16 MPI task (-n 16) application running using 2 compute nodes (-N 2).


Click Next. In the next window (the PROGRAM DETAILS tab), provide the executable file name and, if any, command line arguments.


Click the 'Start Session' button.

Then, the process window will show the source code, waiting for your command.

If the user source code is not displayed in the process window at this stage, select the main routine in the stack trace pane (the upper left frame) of the process window.

To start debugging, create a break point by clicking on a line number in the source pane, and click 'Go'. After that, you can use other buttons ('Next', 'Step', 'Out', etc.).


There is a smaller window called the 'root window' beside the process window, displaying all the (MPI) processes and threads created for the debugging application. You can see MPI task id (rank) and its status for each process or thread from the window.


You will want to check the value of variables from time to time in order to see whether your program is running as expected. If you want to check a local variable, you can simply look up the 'Stack Frame' section in the process window. For any variable, right-click on the variable in the source pane and select 'Dive'.



Select 'Across Processes' to view the value across processes. If you are in a threaded region and want to view the value across threads, then select the 'Across Threads' menu.


Known Limitations

TotalView does not support on Cray systems:

  • Debugging MPI_Spawn(), OpenMP, or Cray SHMEM programs
  • Compiled EVAL points and expressions.
  • Spawning a process onto the compute processors
  • Machine partitioning schemes, gang scheduling, or batch systems