FIFE Notes – October 2017

Best in Class

Experiment with the most opportunistic hours August-October 2017

The experiment with the most opportunistic hours on OSG between Aug. 1, 2017 and Oct. 1, 2017 was NOvA with 3,254,356 hours.
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Most efficient big non-production users August-October 2017

Currently, the batch system is not properly reporting CPU time used by jobs. Due to this, efficiency metrics for jobs are unavailable. We will update this post as soon as the issue is resolved.

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Most efficient experiments August-October 2017

Currently, the batch system is not properly reporting CPU time used by jobs. Due to this, efficiency metrics for jobs are unavailable. We will update this post as soon as the issue is resolved.

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This newsletter is brought to you by:

  • Shreyas Bhat
  • Lisa Giacchetti
  • Ken Herner
  • Mike Kirby
  • Tanya Levshina
  • Kevin Retzke
  • Anthony Tiradani
  • Margaret Votava
  • Stephen P. White

We welcome articles you might want to submit. Please email

Feature Articles

Semiannual FIFE Roadmap Workshop announced: Dec. 5, 2017

Following a very successful discussion at the previous FIFE Workshop, the FIFE Group has decided to start holding semiannual Roadmap discussions with experiment Offline and Production Coordinators. The goal of the Roadmap discussion is to both inform experiments and gather feedback about strategic infrastructure changes and computing service modifications. These workshops will replace the annual ...

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Upgrading GPGrid to FermiGrid

Experiments need ever-increasing computing capabilities and this trend is expected to continue.  The HEPCloud project is dedicated to meeting these needs as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Recently, GPGrid and Fifebatch went through a transition to better align the computing cluster with HEPCloud’s efforts.
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PNFS Dos and Don’ts

A while back a user, let’s call him “Ken”, was trying to get some work finished on a very compressed timescale. It involved running a script that would generate some job scripts and stage files to dCache, and then submit jobs that take about one hour each. It was a well-tested workflow that followed FIFE best practices, but on this particular day Ken was seeing lots of errors like hanging dCache staging commands and stuck IFDH transfers causing jobs to go held. With the jaws of doom closing around him, Ken opened a Service Desk ticket with the dCache experts, and found out that others were being affected too. In fact, the experts already understood what the problem was.
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GRACC replacing Gratia as grid accounting system

Earlier this year the OSG deployed its new grid accounting system, GRACC. Developed by Fermilab with OSG collaborators, GRACC aims to provide a more flexible and scalable (and faster!) accounting system than its predecessor, Gratia.
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Best practices for experiment database access

A well-designed database can be a strong workhorse for an experiment.  However, if not built for the future that workhorse will age and become a detriment to analysis. As experiments scale up production during their lifecycles, adding more and faster CPUs, they require the same level of performance from the database. But that database can only carry so large a load after which performance drops and drops fast.  Planning must be done at the start on how to maintain the performance of the database throughout its life. Here are a few basic ways to help achieve this.
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FIFE Workshop 2017 lookback

For the fifth year, experimenters and members of Scientific Computing Division (SCD) gathered for the annual FIFE Workshop. The workshop focus was divided between discussions of the FIFE roadmap on the first day and extensive tutorials on the second day. The workshop had more than 65 attendees from across all Frontiers (Intensity, Cosmic, and Energy) and from all departments within SCD. The agenda and contributions to the workshop can be found on the FIFE Workshop Indico page. While the series had very productive discussions, the FIFE group has decided that this will be the last summer in the series for the foreseeable future.
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Click here for archive of past FIFE notes.

About FIFE


FIFE provides collaborative scientific-data processing solutions for Frontier Experiments.

FIFE takes the collective experience from current and past experiments to provide options for designing offline computing for experiments. It is not a mandate from Scientific Computing Division about how an experiment should or should not design their offline computing. FIFE is modular so experiments can take what they need, and new tools from outside communities can be incorporated as they develop.

Please click HERE for detailed documentation on the FIFE services and tools.