DRMAA for Torque/PBS Pro


DRMAA for Torque/PBS Pro is implementation of Open Grid Forum  DRMAA (Distributed Resource Management Application API) specification for submission and control jobs to PBS systems:  Torque and  PBS Professional. Using DRMAA, grid applications builders, portal developers and ISVs can use the same high-level API to link their software with different cluster/resource management systems.

This software also enables the integration of  QCG-Computing with the underlying Torque/PBS Pro system for remote multi-user job submission and control over Web Services.


DRMAA for Torque/PBS Pro is distributed as a source package which can be downloaded from  sourceforge.

SVN access

  $ svn co https://apps.man.poznan.pl/svn/pbs-drmaa/

Please note the ./autogen.sh and ./autoclean.sh scripts which calls the autotools command chain in appropriate order.

note: You need some developer tools to compile the svn version. Please note that the trunk version may not always compile.


From Sources

To compile the library just go to main source directory and type:

  $ ./configure [--prefix=/installation/directory] && make

If you had installed PBS in a non standard directory pass it in --with-pbs configure parameter. There are no unusual requirements for basic usage of library: ANSI C compiler and standard make should suffice (if linking against PBS Professional you will need also the OpenSSL library). If you have taken sources directly from SVN repository you would need additional developer tools. For further information regarding GNU build system see the INSTALL file.

From Binary Packages

Currently the following binary packages are available:


For  Torque it is advised to configure queues so jobs are leaved after the completion. To achieve this simply type the following command for all queues which are intended to use with PBS DRMAA:

  # qmgr -c "set queue QUEUE_NAME keep_completed = 60"

or simply set is as the global server parameter:

  # qmgr -c "set server keep_completed = 60"

The value of the keep_completed parameter denotes a number of seconds jobs will have to wait in the queue after the completion (and should be greater then pool_delay value in PBS DRMAA configuration). It enables the DRMAA library to retrieve the information about finished jobs.

Alternatively you can configure the DRMAA library to use Torque server daemon logs as information source for terminated jobs (consult the next section for details).


During DRMAA session initialization (drmaa_init) library tries to read its configuration parameters from locations:

  • PREFIX/etc/pbs_drmaa.conf,
  • ~/.pbs_drmaa.conf
  • and from file given in PBS_DRMAA_CONF environment variable (if set to non-empty string).

If multiple configuration sources are present then all configurations are merged with values from user-defined files taking precedence (in the following order: PBS_DRMAA_CONF, ~/.pbs_drmaa.conf, PREFIX/etc/pbs_drmaa.conf).

Currently recognized configuration parameters are:

Amount of time (in seconds) between successive checks of unfinished job(s).

Type: integer, Default: 5

Value 1 enables single "wait thread" for updating jobs status. With pbs_home set enables wait_thread which reads PBS log files (instead of polling PBS daemons).

Type: integer, Default: 0

Path to Torque/PBS Pro spool directory that contains server logs (server_logs directory) , e.g.: /var/spool/pbs.

Type: string, Default: not set

Dictionary of job categories. It's keys are job categories names mapped to native specification strings. Attributes set by job category can be overridden by corresponding DRMAA attributes or native specification. Special category name default is used when drmaa_job_category job attribute was not set.

According to the DRMAA specification every drmaa_job_ps() call should query DRM system for job state. With this option one may optimize communication with DRM. If set to positive integer drmaa_job_ps() returns remembered job state without communicating with DRM for cache_job_state seconds since last update. By default library conforms to specification (no caching will be performed).

Type: integer, Default: 0

Maximal number of retries count in pbs_connect.

Type: integer, Default: 3

The time (expressed in seconds) that the wait thread sleeps between it poll log file for new data.

Type: integer, Default: 1 (second)

The location of user's state dir, a directory which is used to store job exit statuses. Use %s as the replacement for the user's name (e.g. /scratch/%s/.drmaa).

Type: string, Default: $HOME/.drmaa

Different modes of operation

wait_thread pbs_home mode keep_completed needed comments
0 not set polling yes default configuration
1 not set polling yes more efective in case of many concurrent drmaa_wait calls
1 set triggered no read access to server logs needed

Configuration file syntax

Configuration file is in form a dictionary. Dictionary is set of zero or more key-value pairs. Key is a string while value could be a string, an integer or another dictionary.

  configuration: dictionary | dictionary_body
  dictionary: '{' dictionary_body '}'
  dictionary_body: (string ':' value ',')*
  value: integer | string | dictionary
  string: unquoted-string | single-quoted-string | double-quoted-string
  unquoted-string: [^ \t\n\r:,0-9][^ \t\n\r:,]*
  single-quoted-string: '[^']*'
  double-quoted-string: "[^"]*"
  integer: [0-9]+

Configuration file example

  # pbs_drmaa.conf - Sample pbs_drmaa configuration file.
  wait_thread: 0,

  #pool_delay: 5,

  job_categories: {
	#default: "-k n", # delete output files from execution hosts
	longterm: "-p -100 -l nice=5",
	amd64: "-l arch=amd64",
	python: "-l software=python",
	java: "-l software=java,vmem=500mb -v PATH=/opt/sun-jdk-1.6:/usr/bin:/bin",
	#test: "-u test -q testing",

Native specification

DRMAA interface allows to pass DRM dependant job submission options. Those options may be specified by setting the drmaa_native_specification job template attribute. The drmaa_native_specification accepts space delimited qsub-like options. The library support most of qsub option, except those which does not set job attributes (e.g. -b, -z, -C) as well as meant for submission of interactive jobs (-I, -X) or to specify directories (-d, -D). Also instead of -W option following long options are accepted within native specification: --depend, --group-list, --stagein and --stageout. For detailed description of each option see PBS documentation.

Attributes set in native specification overrides corresponding DRMAA job attributes.

The below table summarize valid native specification strings and corresponding DRMAA/PBS attributes.

DRMAA attribute PBS attribute PBS resource native specification
Attributes which get overridden
drmaa_job_name Job_Name -N job name
drmaa_output_path Output_Path -o output path
drmaa_error_path Error_Path -e error path
drmaa_join_files Join_Path -j join options
drmaa_block_email Mail_Points -m mail options
drmaa_start_time Execution_Time -a start time
drmaa_js_state Hold_Types -h
.. Account_Name -A account string
.. Checkpoint -c interval
.. Keep_Files -k keep
.. Priority -p priority
.. destination -q queue
.. Rerunable -r y/n
.. Shell_Path_List -S path list
.. User_List -u user list
.. group_list --group_list=\groups
drmaa_v_env Variable_List -v variable list
.. Variable_List -V
drmaa_v_email Mail_Users -M user list
drmaa_duration_hlimit Resource_List cput -l cput=\limit
drmaa_wct_hlimit Resource_List walltime -l walltime=\limit
.. Resource_List.name=value -l custom_resources=name:value

Submit filter

Because PBS DRMAA use Torque C API instead of commandline tools (like qsub) it also bypass the   job submission filter. Fortunately since version 1.0.12 PBS DRMAA implements its own, complementary, mechanism. Before every job submission it checks if the PBSDRMAA_SUBMIT_FILTER environment variable is set and executes a script pointed by it passing the job'a PBS attributes (man pbs_job_attributes) to the script stdin. The script can echo, dismiss or alter any of the attribute. In case the submission process should be stopped the script should exit with non-zero status and print error message to stderr. As an example: a /bin/cat command would be a no-operation submit filter.


Changes in 1.0.17 release

  • Torque 4 support

Changes in 1.0.15 release

  • Fixed segfault in the "wait thread" due to pbs_connection not being initialized

Changes in 1.0.14 release

  • Fixed serious memory leak in DRMAA submit filter

Changes in 1.0.13 release

  • refactoring of PBS connection handling routines
  • better error handling

Changes in 1.0.12 release

  • PBS Submit filter

Changes in 1.0.11 release

  • added two new configuration parameters: wait_thread_wait_time and max_retries_count
  • added handling of npcus and procs resources in native

Changes in 1.0.10 release

  • redesigned log parsing facility
  • fixed handling of -q queue attribute in native specification

Changes in 1.0.9 release

  • setting of PBS_O_WORKDIR variable
  • now one can use '-lmem' in native specification attribute

Changes in 1.0.8 release

  • use accounting logs to get execution hosts of short running jobs

Changes in 1.0.7 release

  • print info log message on qstat

Changes in 1.0.6 release

  • missing Resource_List.mem attribute added

Changes in 1.0.5 release

  • make drmaa tolerant to torque restarts
  • now one can use '-lmem' in native specification attribute

Changes in 1.0.4 release

  • fix "mtime" date parsing ('triggered' mode)
  • fix "submit_args" attribute bug (PBS Professional only)

Changes in 1.0.3 release

  • new implementation of the "wait thread" which reads PBS log files (increased scalability)
  • support for native specification attribute
  • memleak fixes
  • testsuite passed on PBS Pro 10
  • exit codes 126-127 force the drmaa_wifaborted() to return true
  • other bug fixes

Changes in 1.0.2 release

  • automatic reconnect on PBS connection errors
  • static linkage with DRMAA utilities
  • other bug fixes

Changes in 1.0.1 release

  • number of attributes implemented:
  • drmaa_start_time
  • drmaa_duration_hlimit
  • drmaa_wct_hlimit
  • drmaa_native_specification
  • drmaa_job_category
  • configuration file(s)
  • separate wait thread
  • lot of bug fixes
  • more robust code
  • separated DRMAA utilities library
  • Python driven test-suite

Known bugs and limitations

Library covers nearly all  DRMAA 1.0 specification with exceptions listed below. It passes the official DRMAA test-suite except of tests which require job termination status. All mandatory and some optional job attributes (namely: transfer files, wall clock time hard limit, job run duration hard limit) are implemented.

Known limitations imposed by PBS API:

  • With PBS Pro (and !OpenPBS) retrieving of job termination status is impossible. For this DRM finished jobs are marked as done with 0 return code unless job was terminated through library when they are treated as aborted and killed after receiving SIGTERM. In version 1.0.3 you can avoid this and configure library to utilize the pbs log file (see: pbs_home configuration property).
  • Library accepts job identifiers only of those jobs which were submitted under current session (specification says it should also accept job identifiers from previous sessions and even of jobs submitted in former execution of DRMAA enabled application). This could only be partially fixed as job state needs to be kept by library in order to cope with PBS shortcomings.
  • Job termination (when job is running) is realized by PBS by sending SIGTERM and/or SIGKILL therefore retrieving those signals cannot be distinguished from abort using drmaa_control(DRMAA_CONTROL_TERMINATE). Then job termination state is marked as "aborted" and "signaled" whatever is the state.
  • drmaa_wcoredump() always returns false.
  • Waiting functions (drmaa_wait() and drmaa_synchronize()) must pool DRM to find out whether job finished. Since version 1.0.3 you can avoid this and configure library to utilize the pbs log file (see: pbs_home configuration property).

Developer tools

Although not needed for library user the following tools may be required if you intend to develop PSNC DRMAA for Torque/PBS Pro:

  • GNU autotools autoconf (tested with version 2.67) automake (tested with version 1.11) libtool (tested with version 2.2.8) m4 (tested with version 1.4.14)
    •  Bison parser generator,
    •  RAGEL State Machine Compiler,
    •  gperf gperf - a perfect hash function generator.


In case of any problems or questions regarding the DRMAA for Torque/PBS Pro do not hesitate to contact us:

  • qcg at plgrid.pl


  • Dominique Belhachemi - Providing Debian Packages of PBS-DRMAA


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see  http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.