Easy Submitting, Intelligent Scheduling and Monitoring Results of Finite Element Jobs with PBS Works

PBS Works offers with PBS Professional a workload management system, with the Compute Manager and the Result Viewer a smart solution to submit, monitor and visualize the results of finite element analysis. With PBS Analytics, also a product of PBS Works, it is possible to analyze the degree of capacity utilization of existing resources. This lecture will show a concrete example how the CAE Department of the automotive supplier KIRCHHOFF Automotive optimized the workload on its HPC-Cluster, reduced costs for software and hardware and increased the productivity of the finite element analysts (hereafter FE Analyst).

Problem Definition:
The FE Department of KIRCHHOFF Automotive supports the other departments such as Product Development, Predevelopment and Applied Research with finite element analysis (hereafter job). Since its founding, the FE Department expanded and other departments also started up with preparing and running their own jobs. At the same time the need of computing capacity increased rapidly. As a central solution to solve jobs a HPC-Cluster was installed and a new challenge arose. How to schedule the jobs submitted by FE Analysts located in different offices and different locations on the cluster?
Following this the FE Analysts need a lot of time to organize their jobs on the cluster. It was also recognized, that idle times on the cluster couldn’t be used efficiently, because monitoring the cluster to find free resources was pretty difficult.  To use the cluster at night the jobs have to be started with shell scripts. For this case every FE Analyst must have a good idea of how long the jobs will run to avoid an overload of the cluster and need additional skills in writing shell scripts.

Problem Solution:
After it was recognized how much time was spent in scheduling the jobs and how many problems occurred on the cluster the decision was made to establish PBS Professional as a workload management system. That enables the FE Analysts to start their jobs with predefined parameters and PBS Professional schedules the jobs on the cluster and gives feedback to the FE Analysts when the job has finished. At the end of last year PBS Professional was upgraded with the Compute Manager and Result Viewer. Both are web based and platform independent and enable the FE Analysts to submit their jobs, to monitor the state of the job and to visualize the finite element results in a web browser. With PBS Works it is possible to reduce the FE Analysts time to organize the jobs on the cluster significantly, time that can be used in productive work. Hardware and software will be used much more efficiently and because of this more simulation jobs can be done with the same resources.


The Author

D. Junglas