NEC - basic usage


Please note that a PDF version of the materials contained herein (including SOL) is also available.


This document aims to provide basic information on how to use the NEC SX-Aurora Tsubasa system available at ICM UW computational facility. The contents herein are based on a number of documents, as referenced in the text, to provide a concise quick start guide and suggest further reading material for the ICM users.

To use the Tsubasa installation users must access the login node first at through SSH and then establish a further connection to the Rysy cluster:

ssh rysy

Alternatively, the -J command line option can be passed to the OpenSSH client to specify a jump host (here the hpc login node) through which the connection to Rysy will be established (issue man ssh command for details).

The system runs Slurm Workload Manager for job scheduling and Environment Modules to manage software. The single compute node (PBaran) of the ve partition can be used interactively – as shown below – or as a batch job (see further in the text).

srun -A GRANT_ID -p ve --gres=ve:1 --pty bash -l

Once the interactive shell session has started, the environmental variable $VE NODE NUMBER is being automatically set to control which VE card is to be used by the user programs. This variable can be read and set manually with echo and export commands, respectively. The software used to operate the VEs – including binaries, libraries, header files, etc. – is installed in /opt/nec/ve directory. Its effective use requires modification of the environmental variables, such as $PATH, $LD LIBRARY PATH and others, which can be done conveniently with the source command:

source /opt/nec/ve/mpi/2.2.0/bin/

Sourcing the variables makes various VE tools accessible within the user environment. This includes the NEC compilers for C, C++, and Fortran languages that can be invoked by ncc, nc++, and nfort, respectively, or by their respective MPI wrappers: mpincc, mpinc++, and mpinfort. Please note that several compiler versions are currently installed and it might be necessary to include a version number in your command, e.g. ncc-2.5.1. The general usage is consistent with the GNU GCC: <compiler> <options> <source file>. The table below lists several standard options for the NEC compilers – see documentation for details.

Option Description
-c create object file
-o output file name
-I/path/to/include include header files
-L/path/to/lib include libraries
-g debugger symbols
-Wall enable syntax warnings
-Werror treat warnings as errors
-O[0-4] optimisation levels
-ftrace use the profiler
-proginf enable execution analysis
-report-all report diagnostics
-traceback provides traceback information
-fdiag-vector=[0-3] level of details for vector diagnostics

The last four of them are used for performance analysis and allow for efficient software development. Some of these, apart from being used as command line options at compile time, also rely on dedicated environmental variables that need to be set at runtime. For a full list of performance-related options, variables, as well as their output description, see PROGINF/FTRACE User’s Guide and the compiler-specific documentation.

The binaries can be run directly by specifying the path or by using the VE loader program (ve exec) – a few examples including parallel execution are listed below:

ve_exec ./program
mpirun ./program
mpirun -v -np 2 -ve 0-1 ./program # enables the use of VE cards 0 and 1

For a full list of options available for mpirun see the corresponding manual page or issue mpirun -h command.

Full documentation for SX-Aurora Tsubasa, its hardware and software components, is available at the NEC website. An accessible introduction to using Tsubasa is also provided on the blog.

Another, non-interactive, mode of operation is a batch mode which requires a script to be submitted to Slurm. An example job script is shown below.

#!/bin/bash -l
#SBATCH -J name
#SBATCH --ntasks-per-node 1
#SBATCH --mem 1000
#SBATCH --time=1:00:00
#SBATCH -A <Grant ID>
#SBATCH -p ve
#SBATCH --gres=ve:1
#SBATCH --output=out


It specifies the name of the job (-J), requested number of nodes (-N), CPUs (--ntasks-per-node), memory (-mem; here in Megabytes), wall time limit (--time), grant ID (-A), partition (-p), generic resources (--gres), output file (--output), and the actual commands to be executed once the resources are granted. See Slurm documentation for an extensive list of available options.

Below are few basic example commands used to work with job scrips: submitting the job (sbatch) which returns the ID number assigned to the it by the queuing system, listing the user’s jobs along with their status (squeue), listing the details of the specified job (scontrol), cancelling execution of the job (scancel). Consult the documentation for more.

sbatch # submits the job
squeue -u $USER # lists the user’s current jobs
scontrol show job <ID> # lists the details of the job specified by given <ID>
scancel <ID> # cancels the job with given <ID>

Since there’s no dedicated filesystem to be used for calculations on the Rysy cluster, in contrast to other ICM systems, the jobs should be run from within the $HOME directory. The ve partition (PBaran compute node) is intended for jobs utilizing VE cards, and as such it should not be used for intensive CPU-consuming tasks.

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