Nimrod Portal Manual

Creating a new experiment and the experiment page

Introduction - Experiment

This section describes creating and maintaining an experiment in the Nimrod Portal.


This section has the following sections:

Creating a new experiment This will cover the creation of a new experiment and the different types of experiments.
The experiment window Information about the experiment window.

Creating a new experiment

New experiment name:
This will be a Nimrod/G experiment.
This will be a Nimrod/O experiment.
This will be a Nimrod/OI experiment.

Creating an experiment is a simple process of giving it a name and selecting an experiment type.

Note: Depending on your Nimrod installation, you may not have the same options.
Note: If you create an experiment with the same name as a "deleted" experiment, the old experiment files and .pln/.shd files will appear.

Starting an experiment

There are a few steps required to starting a Nimrod experiment after is has been created. The next step is to make or upload a plan file. A plan file can be uploaded in the file section, however, it must have the file name of the experiment plus a dot and then "pln". That is, <expname>.pln (E.g. In the experiment called "demo", demo.pln). Otherwise, you can create an experiment with the plan file editor (see below). You may also want to add and remove from the list of generated jobs. This can be done in the "Jobs" section.

You may also need to upload your program for the experiment. This can be done in two ways. You can upload directly to the Nimrod server (if allowed). The files should be place in $HOME/.nimrod/experiments/<expname>. Or you can use the file upload option in the files section. Note: Only one file can be uploaded at a time, however, if you upload a tar.gz file, the portal will prompt to unpack the files.

The final step is to select which resource(s) to use for this experiment. This can be done under the "Resources" section. If you select a resource that does not start, Nimrod will allocate those jobs to the other resources. However, if you select a resource that your experiment does not work on, that resource will consume most of the jobs and fail them all. Make sure all your resources work with your experiment before starting a large experiment.

Optionally, if all your resources have costs assigned to them, you can choose scheduling based on costings. This can be done in the "Schedule" section. This section is only enabled if you have more than one resource selected for the experiment.

You can now start the experiment by select "start" in the "status" section.

The experiment window

The experiment window shows all the information about the experiment. If there are any problems with any of these sections, they will appear in a red colour. This information in split into the following categories:

Status: This window will give a quick summary of the status of the experiment. Displayed at the bottom of this window are the options the affect the whole experiment. It allows, starting and stopping an experiment and resetting. It also allows the user to "delete" the experiment. This will remove the experiment from the list of experiments, however, it will keep all the files. If an experiment of the same name is created, the files will appear.
Current results: This section will only appear in a Nimrod/O or Nimrod/OI experiment after one of the optimisation "starts" has finished. It displays the starting point, the number of batches and the final optimal of the "start". This window will update as the experiment progresses.
Plan file: This section displays the current plan (or Nimrod/O schedule) file with syntax highlighting. The plan file cannot be edited after the experiment has started as this will change the experiment. If there were any errors while creating the file, they will be displayed in red text below the plan file.
Files: This section will display the files in the current experiment. At the bottom of this section is a link to the file section. The file section allows deleting and downloading of files. Because every file appears in this window, we recommend that your plan file returns results to nested subdirectories starting with a directory called "results/". (Note: the "/" is important as that tells Nimrod to copy into a subdirectory
Jobs: This section will change during the different stages of the experiment. Before the experiment starts, it will give a summary of the number of jobs generated by the Nimrod/G plan file and how many jobs have been added and removed. If the experiment has started or is finished, it will give you an option to "Show the Nimrod Viewer". The Nimrod Viewer is a Java applet that displays all the jobs of an experiment and their state. Jobs can be requeued or marked as done in the viewer. The jobs section will allows adding and removing jobs from the experiment. Jobs cannot be removed after the experiment starts, but can be marked as done in the viewer.
Schedule: This section enables economic based scheduling for the experiment. If the resources have cost assigned to them, budget and deadlines can be set for the experiment. This section is only enabled if two or more resources are selected for the experiment.
Resources: This section displays which resources are being used for the experiment. Resources can be added and removed from an experiment during any stage. After the experiment has started, statistics of each resource is shown.

Plan file editor


The Nimrod Portal's plan file editor helps in the process of creating Nimrod/G plan files and Nimrod/O schedule files via use of buttons and pull down menus. Examples and descriptions of plan files commands can be found on this page: Plan file examples.