One method of creating, submitting and monitoring your PRACE production jobs is via the UNICORE Rich Client (URC), without the need for the user to know the details of the target platform’s batch system. Indeed, UNICORE provides a seamless, uniform and secure access to the heterogeneous PRACE infrastructure. This document briefly describes the installation, configuration, and usage of the URC. Links for extended documentation are available in the subsection Further Documentation below.

This document describes the UNICORE installation on a German 32-bit Windows 7 system, thus the screen shots may differ from what appears on other platforms and the window language will be accordant to the default settings of your system.


The URC is available on every super computer (target system) within PRACE. Once the URC client is installed on your computer, jobs can be submitted to each of your Execution Sites. The URC is written in Java and is therefore platform independent. The only installation prerequisite is an SUN Java Runtime environment version 1.6 or higher on your workstation. Please be aware that a 32-bit Java version must be installed on a 32-bit system, and a 64-bit Java version must be installed on a 64-bit system.

URC uses Certificates for both authentication and authorization. With this Certificate, the execution sites can be accessed without having to type the password again and again. This is called single-sign-on.

Your URC submits jobs by communicating to UNICORE servers, which reside at each of the DEISA Execution Systems. Just as each user has a personal Certificate, each UNICORE server also has an individual Certificate. If the user trusts the signing Certification Authority (CA) of the server Certificates in the URC, then the client-server connection will be established. DEISA trusts all Certificates that are signed by the EUGridPMA.

For further information on the use of Certificates within PRACE in general, please see the PRACE Certificates FAQ at Certificates FAQ.

Further Documentation

This manual can give only an introduction into the UNICORE6 Client, namely the UNICORE Rich Client (URC). The URC provides a lot of additional functionality for the user which is not described here in detail.

Detailed URC documentation is available at http://www.unicore.eu/documentation/manuals/unicore6/

If you prefer a video documentation for all the URC functionalities please visit http://www.unicore.eu/documentation/tutorials/unicore6/

In case of any trouble or any suggestions to enhance the URC functionality please refer to the PRACE support team.

This manual can give only an introduction into the UNICORE6 Client, namely the URC. The URC provides a lot of additional functionality for the user which is not described here in detail.

Detailed URC documentation is available at http://www.unicore.eu/documentation/manuals/unicore6/

If you prefer a video documentation for all the URC functionalities please visit http://www.unicore.eu/documentation/tutorials/unicore6/

In case of any troubles or if you want to make suggestions to enhance the URC functionality please refer to the PRACE support team.

UNICORE Client: Installation and Configuration


This Section describes all steps that are necessary to install the URC.

-> Clients -> Rich Client -> Download

There different clients are available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

  • Download the relevant package and store it locally on your computer.
  • Unzip the package and execute the UNICORE_Rich_Client file
  • Configuration


    At start-up, the client will create a new keystore for you. The UNICORE keystore will later contain your personal Certificate and all the Certificates required to access the remote sites. First choose a path and generate an empty keystore file in the file browser (e.g. user.jks – see Figure 1 and Figure 2) and confirm the creation of the new keystore (Figure 3). Please ensure that your keystore filename has the ‘.jks’ suffix.

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    Figure 1
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    Figure 2
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    Figure 3

    Next you will be asked to create a password for the keystore (Figure 4). This password has to be typed every time the URC will be started.

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    Figure 4

    After confirming the password the URC will be configured for the first session (loading Workbench). This step might take a few seconds. When the configuration is ready you will see a “Welcome”-window that contains five icons (Figure 5):

    • Overview: Get an overview of the features
    • First steps: Take your first steps
    • Tutorials: Go through tutorials
    • What’s New: Find out what is new
    • Workbench: Go to the workbench

    Choose any chapter you are interested in. If you want to skip the introduction then choose the Workbench icon or minimize the welcome window. This window will be available in the URC to let you check the different documentations. The first URC view will be similar to what is shown in Figure 6.

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    Figure 5
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    Figure 6

    UNICORE Keystore and the Truststore

    At this point, both the

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    and the

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    have to be populated.

    The keystore contains the private part of your Certificate (which is known as the private key) and the truststore contains the public part of the Certificates of each PRACE site (which is known as the public key). The private key has been created by you in your web browser already when you made the PRACE certificate request from your national Grid-CA. If you do not have your Certificate in .p12 format, open this web browser again and export the private part of your Certificate from your browser to a local file in .p12 format. You will then be asked to provide the password you created for your private key. This is also needed in the following step.

    Import the users’ private key into the URC keystore:

    • Select the “Keystore” panel.
    • Press
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      to search for the private key with the upcoming file browser on your local workstation. The filter has to be set from *.jks to *.p12 (see Figure 7)

    • Click on “Open”
    • Provide the private keys’ password (Figure 8)
    • Now the private key has been imported to the URC keystore and you should see something similar as in Figure 9.
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    Figure 7
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    Figure 8
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    Figure 9

    Next, populate the URC Truststore. For this step you need all the relevant EUGridPMA certificates as provided by SURFsara via http://winnetou.surfsara.nl/prace/certs/

    => Package with individual certs from CAcerts in gz (zip) format

    Download the certificate package, store it on your local computer and extract it to a folder of your choice. Then the UNICORE truststore has to be updated with these certificates:

    • Select the “Truststore” panel
    • Press
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      and select all EUGridPMA certificates from your local computer (you might mark all entries and import them at once – Figure 10

    • Click on “Open”
    • Now the EUGridPMA certificates have been imported into the UNICORE truststore and you should see something similar as shown in Figure 11
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    Figure 10
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    Figure 11

    Next, all the PRACE resources have to be integrated into the URC. Therefore add a new Registry as shown in Figure 12 and Figure 13. The respective Registry URL is https://prace-unic.fz-juelich.de:9111/PRACE/services/Registry?res=default_regi stry.

    In case there is a temporary problem with the central registry, a backup instance is maintened by CINECA and available at https://grid.cineca.it:9111/PRACE/services/Registry?res=default_registry.

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    Figure 12
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    Figure 13

    Double click on

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    to refresh the URC view. Afterwards you should see all your Execution Sites (Figure 14).

    UNICORE Jobs

    Now everything is configured properly and you are ready for your first PRACE UNICORE job. The example below shows how to create and submit a simple job script.

    Select the site where you want to submit your job to (e.g. FZJ_JUGENE) in the URC GridBrowser view with a right mouse click (upper left window, see Figure 15). If no site is selected, then any of the user’s Execution Sites will be taken that achieve your job properties.

    Select Script v.2.0 from the Job Creation window and click on Finish (Figure 16).

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    Figure 15
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    Figure 16

    A new window appears where any Linux commands or program calls, etc., may be included. An example is shown in Figure 17. NB URC automatically prepends all scripts with module load prace.

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    Figure 17

    After that, submit the job to the selected target system (FZJ_JUGENE in the example) by clicking on (see Figure 18). After a few seconds you will see your submitted job (Figure 19). The example shows a pending job that is in the batch queue of the Execution System.

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    Figure 18

    To monitor your submitted job, simply double click on the selected Execution Site (FZJ_JUGENE) in the upper left window (GridBrowser view). You will see all the available file systems on the Execution System. If needed you may browse through the file systems (see Figure 19). The status will be refreshed automatically by the URC, where the update duration depends on the queue status of each Execution System. When the icon changes to green the job has been executed successfully, red means an error (Figure 20).

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    Figure 19
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    Figure 20

    Double click the submitted script to get the job output (e.g. stdout and stderr in Figure 21).

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    Figure 22

    If you want to download the stdout or stderr to your local computer, then double click on stdout or stderr, respectively (Figure 22). Figure 23 shows the stdout.

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    Figure 22
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    Figure 23

    File Transfer with the UNICORE Client

    The URC provides the user with integrated file transfer mechanism. To transfer files, first select your script in the URC and then the Files panel at the bottom. The upper part of the new window is for file import into a temporary directory on the remote supercomputer and the panel below is to export from the temporary directory into a permanent one on the remote HPC system (Figure 24).

    Please note that, for each job, a private, temporary directory is created on the target system which is called USPACE. If no other directory is referred to in the job script, then the job executes within this USPACE directory. It is important to know that the USPACE is a temporary directory and all the content will be deleted after the batch job has finished.

    Thus, if you are interested to keep all data after the job has been finished, then move to a permanent directory (for instance by including the following command at the beginning of your script: cd $PRACE_HOME). Otherwise only stdout and stderr will be available.

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    Figure 24

    Add the file that has to be submitted from your local computer to the Execution System (Figure 25).

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    Figure 25

    With a click in the Source File(s) panel you can browse your files. You may transfer either single files or whole directories (Figure 26).

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    Figure 26

    Next, the files have to be transferred from the temporary URC USPACE to a permanent directory as shown in Figure 27.

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    Figure 27

    Select UNICORE_Storage as Destination Type (Figure 28).

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    Figure 28

    The storage may be selected with a click in the File(s) at Destination / File ID panel (Figure 29). In the upcoming file browser the remote target storage is set.

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    Figure 29

    MPI Jobs with the UNICORE Client

    When you intend to submit a MPI job, for instance, or any kind of parallel job in fact, it will be necessary to define job resources like Total Tasks, Wall Clock Time, etc.

    To edit the resources on the respective target system select the “Resources” panel from the bottom of your script job preparation window. Please note that the content of the resources window is dependent on the selected Execution Systems’ architecture.

    To submit a basic job, users need only specify two resource parameters which describe the total number of cores and the length of the job, as all other resource parameters are provided with their default values. This permits users to submit jobs without knowledge of the batch system of the Execution Platform.

    Therefore, only the total number of cores (represented as Total number of CPUs in the URC resource panel) and Wall Clock Time (represented as Wall time in the URC resource panel are available on all PRACE Execution Systems. All other resources depend on the respective architecture (e.g. Topology will be available on any BlueGene system).

    The respective valid keywords, given for each architecture, are described in PRACE Batch Systems

    Figure 30 shows an example of available BlueGene resources.

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    Figure 30

    By clicking into any resource Value panel the values can be changed. For instance in Figure 31 the Total Tasks are changed from the default value 32 to 64.

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    Figure 31

    Next, put the MPI command in your URC script editor. NB you should not provide any resource definitions in the MPI call itself; however, in the current URC version, you must include the MPI launcher, such as poe, aprun, mpirun, etc. (poe is employed in the example). The information can be taken from the batch user guide (see URL above). In a future URC release, the MPI launcher will be provided automatically.

    A correct call for instance could be:

    cd $PRACE_HOME
    poe hello.out
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