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Subject: [OMPI devel] RFC: Suspend/resume enhancements
From: Iain Bason (Iain.Bason_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-01-04 13:50:03

WHAT: Enhance the orte_forward_job_control MCA flag by:

   1. Forwarding signals to descendants of launched processes; and
   2. Forwarding signals received before process launch time.

(The orte_forward_job_control flag arranges for SIGTSTP and SIGCONT to
be forwarded. This allows a resource manager like Sun Grid Engine to
suspend a job by sending a SIGTSTP signal to mpirun.)

WHY: Some programs do "mpirun", and starts multiple
      processes. Among these programs is weather prediction code from
      the UK Met Office. This code is used at multiple sites around
      the world. Since other MPI implementations* forward job control
      signals this way, we risk having OMPI excluded unless we
      implement this feature.

      [*I have personally verified that Intel MPI does it. I have
      heard that Scali does it. I don't know about the others.]

HOW: To allow signals to be sent to descendants of launched processes,
      use the setpgrp() system call to create a new process group for
      each launched process. Then send the signal to the process group
      rather than to the process.

      To allow signals received before process launch time to be
      delivered when the processes are launched, add a job state flag
      to indicate whether the job is suspended. Check this flag at
      launch time, and send a signal immediately after launching.


WHEN: We would like to integrate this into the 1.5 branch.

TIMEOUT: COB Tuesday, January 19, 2010.


   1. Will this work for Windows?

      I don't know what would be required to make this work for
      Windows. The current implementation is for Unix only.

   2. Will this work for interactive ssh/rsh PLM?

      It will not work any better or worse than the current
      implementation. One can suspend a job by typing Ctl-Z at a
      terminal, but the mpirun process itself never gets suspended.
      That means that in order to wake the job up one has to open a
      different terminal to send a SIGCONT to the mpirun process. It
      would be desirable to fix this problem, but as this feature is
      intended for use with resource managers like SGE it isn't
      essential to make it work smoothly in an interactive shell.

   3. Will the creation of new process groups prohibit SGE from killing
      a job properly?

      No. SGE has a mechanism to ensure that all a job's processes are
      killed, regardless of whether they create new process groups.

   4. What about other resource managers?

      Using this flag with another resource manager might cause
      problems. However, the flag may not be necessary with other
      resource managers. (If the RM can send SIGSTOP to all the
      processes on all the nodes running a job, then mpirun doesn't
      need to forward job control signals.)

      According to the SLURM documentation, plugins are available
      (e.g., linuxproc) that would allow reliable termination of all a
      job's processes, regardless of whether they create new process

   5. Will the creation of new process groups prevent mpirun from
      shutting down the job successfully (e.g., when it receives a

      No. I have tested jobs both with and without calls to
      MPI_Comm_Spawn, and all are properly terminated.

   6. Can we avoid creating new process groups by just signaling the
      launched process plus any process that calls MPI_Init?

      No. The shell script might launch other background processes
      that the user wants to suspend. (The Met Office code does this.)

   7. Can we avoid creating new process groups by having mpirun and
      orted send SIGTSTP to their own process groups, and ignore the
      signal that they send to themselves?

      No. First, mpirun might be in the same process group as other
      mpirun processes. Those mpiruns could get into an infinite loop
      forwarding SIGTSTPs to one another. Second, although the default
      action on receipt of SIGTSTP is to suspend the process, that only
      happens if the process is not in an orphaned process group. SGE
      starts processes in orphaned process groups.