Running ordinary analysis

prun is the command-line tool to allow users to run any application on PanDA. The application could be ROOT (CINT, C++, pyRoot), python, user’s executable, shell script, and so on, and must be made available on computing resources beforehand. prun sends all files except too large files under the current directory to computing resources. Users can construct arbitrary runtime environments there and can do anything in principle. However, please avoid careless network operations connecting to remote servers (e.g., git clone and wget) unless the remote servers permit them. Your task is split into many jobs, and these jobs are executed in parallel, so that those operations tend to become a DDoS attack and easily break the remote servers.

How to run

prun --helpGroup ALL

shows all available options.

Hello world

Here is an Hello world example.

prun --exec "pwd; ls; echo Hello-world > myout.txt" --outDS user.<your account>.`uuidgen` --nJobs 3 --output myout.txt

where --exec takes the execution string which is executed on remote computing resources, and --outDS takes the basename of the output collection. DOMA users need to set --vo wlcg --workingGroup ${PANDA_AUTH_VO} since each organization is registered as a sub-VO in DOMA PanDA, --site to one of queues shown in DOMA PanDA monitor, and --noBuild since generally the build step is unused.

This task generates 1 build job to setup and 3 run jobs to produce myout.txt, and creates two collections (e.g., dataset containers); one for output data and the other for log files. The next section explains what the build job is. Each run job executes pwd; ls; echo Hello-World > myout.txt and produces an output file, myout.txt. The output file is renamed to <jediTakID>._<serial_number>.myout.txt to be unique in the entire system and is then added to the output data collection. Each run job also produces a tarball of log files <jediTakID>._<serial_number>.log.tgz and adds it to the log collection.

This example doesn’t take input data, so it will generate 3 identical jobs. It is possible to give unique numbers to jobs by adding %RNDM:basenumber in --exec which is incremented per job. E.g.,

prun --exec "echo %RNDM:123 %RNDM:456"" ...

The first job executes “echo 123 456”, the second job executes “echo 124 457”, and so on.

Running with input files and a separate build step

Large input data must be transferred via data management systems instead of directly sending them from current directly. You can specify the name of input data collection (e.g., input dataset name or container name) in --inDS. %IN is a placeholder in --exec to be replaced with a comma-concatenated list of input data (e.g., filenames) when being executed on computing resources.

It would be suboptimal to build runtime environment and run the application in each job, if the build step is time-consuming. It is possible to execute the build step only once in a build job and let many run jobs share the runtime.

The following example compiles a ROOT C++ source file in build jobs on remote computing resources and starts many run jobs with input files once build jobs finished.

First, you need to prepare source files and Makefile locally. For example,

$ cat

#include <string>
#include <vector>
#include <iostream>
#include <stdlib.h>

#include "TROOT.h"
#include "TFile.h"
#include "TTree.h"
#include "TChain.h"
#include "TBranch.h"

int main(int argc, char **argv)
  // split by ','
  std::string argStr = argv[1];
  std::vector<std::string> fileList;
  for (size_t i=0,n; i <= argStr.length(); i=n+1)
      n = argStr.find_first_of(',',i);
      if (n == std::string::npos)
        n = argStr.length();
      std::string tmp = argStr.substr(i,n-i);

  // open input files
  TChain fChain("CollectionTree");
  for (unsigned int iFile=0; iFile<fileList.size(); ++iFile)
      std::cout << "open " << fileList[iFile].c_str() << std::endl;

  Int_t           EventNumber;
  TBranch        *b_EventNumber;
  fChain.SetBranchAddress("EventNumber", &EventNumber, &b_EventNumber);

  // main loop
  Long64_t nentries = fChain.GetEntriesFast();
  for (Long64_t jentry=0; jentry<nentries;jentry++)
      Long64_t ientry = fChain.LoadTree(jentry);
      if (ientry < 0)

      std::cout << EventNumber << std::endl;

Make file could be something like

$ cat Makefile

ROOTCFLAGS    = $(shell root-config --cflags)
ROOTLIBS      = $(shell root-config --libs)
ROOTGLIBS     = $(shell root-config --glibs)

CXX           = g++
CXXFLAGS      =-I$(ROOTSYS)/include -O -Wall -fPIC
LD            = g++
LDFLAGS       = -g
SOFLAGS       = -shared

LIBS          = $(ROOTLIBS)
GLIBS         = $(ROOTGLIBS)

OBJS          = cpptest.o

cpptest: $(OBJS)
        $(CXX) -o $@ $(OBJS) $(CXXFLAGS) $(LIBS)

# suffix rule
        $(CXX) -c $(CXXFLAGS) $(GDBFLAGS) $<

# clean
        rm -f *~ *.o *.o~ core


prun --exec "cpptest %IN" --bexec "make" --inDS valid1.006384.PythiaH120gamgam.recon.AOD.e322_s412_r577 --rootVer recommended ...

prun sends files including and Makefile in the current directory to remote computing resources. Note that a build job is generated for each computing resource if the task is split to multiple comput resources for parallel execution. The build job executess the argument of --bexec to produce binary files, and then run jobs get started with those binary files. %IN is dynamically converted to a commma-concatenated filenames in the input data collection specified by --inDS.

Running python

This example runs a python job.

$ cat

import sys
print sys.argv
f = open('out.dat','w')


prun --exec "python %IN" --inDS ...

It will run with the system python on the remote resource.

Running stand-alone containers

It is possible run standalone containers by using --containerImage option.

prun --containerImage docker://alpine --exec "echo Hello World" --outDS user.hoge.`uuidgen`

Your job will download the docker image and execute echo in the container. --containerImage can also take the CVMFS path if the the image is unpacked in CVMFS. This has the advantage for each job to avoid downloading the image.

prun --containerImage /cvmfs/ --exec "echo Hello World" ...

IO is done through the initial working directory $PWD where the container is launched. The working directly is mounted to /srv/workDir. It is recommended to dynamically get the path of the initial working directory using os.getcwd(), echo $PWD, and so on, when the application is executed in the container rather than hard-coding /srv/workDir in the application, since the convention might be changed in the future.

prun --containerImage docker://atlasml/ml-base --exec "my_command %IN" --outputs my-output-file.h5 --forceStaged --inDS ...

Input files are copied to $PWD even if the computing resource is configured to read files directly from the storage resource since --forceStaged" option is used. `%IN` in ``--exec is replaced to a comma-concatenated list of the copied input files. It is user’s responsibility to copy output files to $PWD, i.e., my_command in this example has to put my-output-file.h5 to $PWD, then the system takes care of subsequent procedures like renaming and stage-out.

Running on GPU

GPUs (Graphics Processing Unit) have numerous advantages in data-intensive tasks, physics analysis, machine learning, and other fields, making them powerful tools for high-performance and efficient calculations and processing.

GPU resources are available exclusively at designated sites, necessitating explicit job assignment. Users need to specify the GPU architecture in the --architecture option when executing prun. The option’s argument is explained in this section. For example, to utilize NVIDIA GPUs, you can set the argument like: --architecture '&nvidia'. e.g.,

prun --containerImage docker:// --exec "python /" --outDS user.$USER.`uuidgen` --noBuild --nJobs=1 --architecture '&nvidia'


Output with wildcards

When the number of output files produced by each job or a part of their filenames is unknown, it is possible to specify their names with wildcards in --outputs option.

prun --outputs ",JiveXML_*.xml" ...

Each job will have two output files, <jediTaskID>.<serial number> and <jediTaskID>.<serial number>.JiveXML_XYZ.xml.tgz. The latter is a tarball of all JiveXML_*.xml produced by the job. Note that you need to escape the wildcard character using \ or “” to disable shell-globing, i.e. JiveXML_\*.xml or “JiveXML_*.xml”.

Send jobs to particular computing resources

The system automatically chooses appropriate computing resources by using various information like data locality, resource occupancy, and user’s profile. However, users can still send jobs to particular sites using --site option. e.g.,

prun --site TRIUMF ...

Filtering files in the input dataset

The --match option allows user to choose files matching a given pattern. The argument is a comma-separated string.

prun --match "*AOD*" ...
prun --match "*r123*,*r345*" ...

If you need to skip specific files, use the --antiMatch option.

How to use multiple input datasets

If you just want to submit a single task running on multiple datasets, you just need to specify a comma-separated list of input datasets.

prun --inDS dsA,dsB,dsC,dsD ...

However, if you want to read multiple datasets in each job, i.e., one for signal and the other for background, you need something more complicated. The --secondaryDSs option specifies secondary dataset names. The argument is a comma-separated list of StreamName:nFilesPerJob:DatasetName[:MatchingPattern[:nSkipFiles]] where


the name of stream in the –exec argument


the number of files per subjob


the dataset name


to use files matching a pattern (can be omitted)


to skip files (can be omitted)

For example,

prun --exec "test %IN %IN2 %IN3" --secondaryDSs IN2:3:data19.106017.gg2WW0240_JIMMY_WW_taunutaunu.recon.AOD.e371_s462_r563/,IN3:2:mc08.105200.T1_McAtNlo_Jimmy.recon.AOD.e357_s462_r541/ --inDS ...

%IN2 and %IN3 will be replaced with actual filenames in data19.blah and mc08.blah, respectively, when jobs get started, while %IN is replaced with files in --inDS.

Note that when dataset containers are used for secondaryDSs like StreamName:nFilesPerJob:ContainerName they are expanded to constituent datasets and each job takes nFilesPerJob files from each constituent dataset. This means that if a dataset container has M constituent datasets a single job cound take M x nFilesPerJob files from the dataset container. There are --notExpandInDS and --notExpandSecDS options so that jobs don’t expand dataset containers, use files across dataset boundaries in dataset containers, and take only nFilesPerJob files from each dataset container.

Merge output files

The --mergeOutput option merges output files on the fly. E.g.,

prun ... --mergeOutput --mergeScript=" -o %OUT -i %IN"

Merge jobs (pmerge jobs) are generated once run jobs produce premerged files. Each merge job executes the application described above to merge %IN will be replaced with a comma-separated list of premerged filenames, and %OUT replaced with the final output filename, when merge jobs get started. Each merge job merges the premerged files using for pool files, hadd for ROOT hist and ntuple, gzip for log and text, or the application specified in the --mergeScript option.

Adding job metadata

Users can add metadata to each job in PanDA. If jobs produce json files userJobMetadata.json in the run directory it is uploaded to PanDA and you can see it in pandamon or pbook. This is typically useful if jobs have very small outputs, such as hyperparameter optimization for machine learning where each job could produce only one value. Users can get results directly from PanDA rather than uploading/downloading small files to/from storages. Note that the size of each metadata must be less than 1MB and metadata are available only for successfully finished jobs. First you need to change your application to produce a json file, e.g.

$ cat
# do something useful and then
import json
json.dump({'aaaaaa':'bbbbbb', 'ccc':[1,2,5]}, open('userJobMetadata.json', 'w'))

Then submit tasks as usual. You don’t need any special option. E.g.,

prun --exec 'python' --outDS user.hage.`uuidgen`

Once jobs have successfully finished you can see metadata in the job metadata field in the job page of PanDA monitor. You can fetch a json dump through<taskID>&fields=metastruct&json or in pbook

$ pbook
>>> getUserJobMetadata(taskID, output_json_filename)

or through end-user python API.

How to run the task in parallel while the parent task is still running

It is possible to sequentially chain tasks using the --parentTaskID option. A typical use-case is as follows:

  1. A parent task is running to produce some datasets.

  2. A child task is submitted to use one or more datasets as input which the parent is producing.

  3. The child task periodically checks the input datasets and generates jobs if new files are available.

  4. Finally, the child task is finished once the parent is finished and all files produced by the parent have been processed.

The --parentTaskID option takes the taskID of the parent task that is producing --inDS. Note that if the child task is submitted without the --parentTaskID option, it will run only on the available files when the task is submitted.

Difference between --useAthenaPackage and --athenaTag

Both options set up Athena on remote compute nodes. The main difference is as follows. --useAthenaPackage requires Athena runtime environment on your local computer to automatically configure the task by parsing environment variables and make a sandbox file by using cpack, which is included in Athena, according to Athena’s directory structure. On the other hand, --athenaTag doesn’t need Athena locally. It gathers files in the current directory when making a sandbox file and passes the argument string to asetup executed on remote compute nodes.

How to control job size

--nFilePerJob, --nGBPerJob and --maxNFilesPerJob options are available at task submission to change a job size (e.g. job duration, size of output). But if a user sets those options and they are assumed to create many short jobs based on results of scouting jobs, those options are reset to their default values ( --nFilePerJob =None, --nGBPerJob =MAX and --MaxNFilesPerJob =200). In principle, the system centrally defines job size by taking into account execution time, resource usage, input and output sizes, and so on, as explained in Job Sizing, and it is recommended to leave it to the system rather than playing with those options.

Bulk task submission

It is possible to submit multiple tasks in a single execution of prun. First, you need to prepare a json file that specifies multiple combinations of input and output. The file contains a json dump of [{‘inDS’: a comma-concatenated input dataset names, ‘outDS’: output dataset name}, …]. E.g.

$ python
>>> import json
>>> data = [{"inDS": ",group.susy.def/", "outDS": "user.hoge.XYZ"},
            {"inDS": "group.susy.opq/", "outDS": "user.hoge.VWX"}]
>>> with open('test.json', 'w') as f:
        json.dump(data, f)

where two combinations of input and output are specified. Note that outDS must be unique since each combination is mapped to a single task.

Then you just need to execute prun with --inOutDsJson

prun --inOutDsJson test.json --exec ...