Skip to content

Interactive Jobs


salloc is used to allocate resources for a job in real time. Typically this is used to allocate resources and spawn a shell. The shell is then used to execute srun commands to launch parallel tasks.


Cori has an dedicated interactive QOS. This queue is intended to deliver nodes for interactive use within 6 minutes of the job request.

We have deployed experimental functionality to support medium-length interactive work on Cori. This queue is intended to deliver nodes for interactive use within 6 minutes of the job request. To access the interactive queue add the qos flag to your salloc command.

cori$ salloc -N 1 -C haswell -q interactive -t 01:00:00

To run on KNL nodes, use "-C knl" instead of "-C haswell".

Users in this queue are limited to two jobs running job on as many as 64 nodes for up to 4 hours. Additionally, each NERSC allocation (MPP repo) is further limited to a total of 64 nodes between all their interactive jobs (KNL or haswell). This means that if UserA in repo m9999 has a job using 1 haswell node, UserB (who is also in repo m9999) can have a simultaneous job using 63 haswell nodes or 63 KNL nodes, but not 64 nodes. Since this is intended for interactive work, each user can submit only two jobs at a time (either KNL or haswell). KNL nodes are currently limited to quad,cache mode only. You can only run full node jobs; sub-node jobs like those in the shared queue are not possible.

We have configured this queue to reject the job if it cannot be scheduled within a few minutes. This could be because the job violates the single job per user limit, the total number of nodes per NERSC allocation limit, or because there are not enough nodes available to satisfy the request. In some rare cases, jobs may also be rejected because the batch system is overloaded and wasn't able to process your job in time. If that happens, please resubmit.

Since there is a limit on number of nodes used per allocation, you may be unable to run a job because other users who share your allocation are using it. To see who in your allocation is using the interactive queue you can use

cori$ squeue --qos=interactive --account=<reponame> -O

If the number of nodes in use by your repo sums up to 64 nodes, please contact the other group members if you feel they need to release interactive resources.

You can see the number of nodes that in use (A for allocated) or idle (I) using this command

cori$ sinfo -p interactive --format="%15b %8D %A"
knl             2        0/0
haswell         192      191/1
knl,cache,quad  190      65/124