Checking license usage for MATLAB

You can check the availability of MATLAB licenses using the lmstat command:

$ /software/USR_LOCAL/flexlm/lmstat -a -c /software/USR_LOCAL/flexlm/licenses/matlab.dat 

Running the MATLAB graphical interface

To launch the MATLAB graphical interface, you must first you must log-in with tunneling enabled, and then ask for an interactive session:

$ qsub -I -X -l select=1:ncpus=2:mem=24gb,walltime=1:00:00

Once logged-in, you must load one of the MATLAB modules:

$ module add matlab/2018b

And then launch the MATLAB program:

$ matlab

Warning: DO NOT attempt to run MATLAB right after logging-in (i.e., on the login001 node). Always ask for an interactive job first. MATLAB sessions are automatically killed on the login node.

Running the MATLAB command line without graphics

To use the MATLAB command-line interface without graphics, you can additionally use the -nodisplay and -nosplash options:

$ matlab -nodisplay -nosplash

To quit matlab command-line interface, type:

$ exit

MATLAB in batch jobs

To use MATLAB in your batch jobs, you can use the -r switch provided by MATLAB, which lets you run commands specified on the command-line. For example:

$ matlab -nodisplay -nosplash -r myscript

will run the MATLAB script myscript.m, Or:

$ matlab -nodisplay -nosplash < myscript.m > myscript_results.txt

will run the MATLAB script myscript.m and write the output to myscript_results.txt file. Thus, an example batch job using MATLAB could have a batch script as follows:

#PBS -N test_matlab
#PBS -l select=1:ncpus=1:mem=5gb
#PBS -l walltime=1:00:00

module add matlab/2018b


taskset -c 0-$(($OMP_NUM_THREADS-1)) matlab -nodisplay -nosplash < myscript.m > myscript_results.txt

Note: MATLAB will sometimes attemps to use all available CPU cores on the node it is running on. If you haven’t reserved all cores on the node, your job may be killed if this happens. To avoid this, you can use the taskset utility to set the “core affinity” (as shown above). As an example:

$ taskset 0-2 <application>

will limit application to using 3 CPU cores. On Palmetto, the variable OMP_NUM_THREADS is automatically set to be the number of cores requested for a job. Thus, you can use 0-$((OMP_NUM_THREADS-1)) as shown in the above batch script to use all the cores you requested.

Compiling MATLAB code to create an executable

Often, you need to run a large number of MATLAB jobs concurrently (e.g,m each job operating on different data). In such cases, you can avoid over-utilizing MATLAB licenses by compiling your MATLAB code into an executable. This can be done from within the MATLAB command-line as follows:

$ matlab -nodisplay -nosplash
>> mcc -R -nodisplay -R -singleCompThread -R -nojvm -m mycode.m

Note: MATLAB will try to use all the available CPU cores on the system where it is running, and this presents a problem when your compiled executable on the cluster where available cores on a single node might be shared amongst mulitple users. You can disable this “feature” when you compile your code by adding the -R -singleCompThread option, as shown above.

The above command will produce the executable mycode, corresponding to the M-file mycode.m. If you have multiple M-files in your project and want to create a single excutable, you can use a command like the following:

>> mcc -R -nodisplay -R -singleCompThread -R -nojvm -m my_main_code.m myfunction1.m myfunction2.m myfunction3.m

Once the executable is produced, you can run it like any other executable in your batch jobs. Of course, you’ll also need the same matlab and (optional) GCC module loaded for your job’s runtime environment.