Getting started

Imagine you have an executable that you want to execute on a Slurm batch farm for a list of input files. Each job should process one input file. Both the executable and the input file should be copied to the computing node.

  1. Create a skeleton batch script pyssub_example_one.json:

       "executable": "/home/ga65xaz/",
       "arguments": "--in {macros[inputfile]} --out {macros[outputfile]}",
       "options": {
          "job-name": "{macros[jobname]}",
          "ntasks": 1,
          "time": "00:10:00",
          "chdir": "/var/tmp",
          "error": "/scratch9/kkrings/logs/{macros[jobname]}.out",
          "output": "/scratch9/kkrings/logs/{macros[jobname]}.out"
       "transfer_executable": true,
       "transfer_input_files": [
       "transfer_output_files": [

    The script must be executable. In this example, we use macros, which are based on Python’s format specification mini-language, for the job name and the file names of both the input and the output file.


    In case of Python scripts, you have to be careful if the shebang starts with #!/usr/bin/env python because Slurm will transfer the user environment of the submit node to the computing node. This could lead to unwanted results if you for example use pyssub from within a dedicated virtual Python 3 environment that does not correspond to the one the Python script is supposed to use.

  2. Create a batch script collection pyssub_example.json:

       "pyssub_example_00": {
          "script": "/home/ga65xaz/pyssub_example.script",
          "macros": {
             "jobname": "pyssub_example_00",
             "inputfile": "pyssub_example_input_00.txt",
             "outputfile": "pyssub_example_output_00.txt"
       "pyssub_example_01": {
          "script": "/home/ga65xaz/pyssub_example.script",
          "macros": {
             "jobname": "pyssub_example_01",
             "inputfile": "pyssub_example_input_01.txt",
             "outputfile": "pyssub_example_output_01.txt"

    The collection is a mapping of job names to JSON objects that contain the absolute path to the batch script skeleton and the macro values that will be injected into the skeleton.


    By default, the job name is not the one that Slurm will assign to the job internally, but it is best practice to tell Slurm to use the same name via the Slurm option job-name. In the example above, this is achieved with the help of the macro jobname.

  3. Submit the batch script collection via ssub. The ssub command also allows you to control the maximum allowed number of queuing jobs (the default is 1000) and to specify how long it should wait before trying to submit more jobs into the queue (the default is 120 seconds). The output file pyssub_example.out will contain the job name and job ID of each submitted job.

    ssub submit \
       --in pyssub_example.json \
       --out pyssub_example.out
  4. After your jobs are done, collect the failed ones. This feature requires the sacct command to be available, which allows to query the Slurm job database. It will query the status of each job listed in pyssub_example.out` and save the job name and job ID of each finished job that has failed.

    ssub rescue \
       --in pyssub_example.out \
       --out pyssub_example.rescue
  5. If the jobs have failed because of temporary problems with the computing node for example, you can simply resubmit only the failed jobs:

    ssub submit \
       --in pyssub_example.json \
       --out pyssub_example.out \
       --rescue pyssub_example.rescue

The next step is to use a Python script for creating the same collection of batch scripts, which is shown in the Advanced example page.