Initial setup

Follow certificate setup as per Jeppe’s tutorial

Make a careful note of passwords (can get confusing). Don’t use passwords used elsewhere in case you want to automate proxy renewal (like me and Juan)

NNLOJET Setup (for nnlojet developers only)

As usual - pull the NNLOJET repository, update to modules and make -jXX


LHAPDF 6.2.1 will not work on the grid outside of Durham(!)

  • When installing lhapdf, don’t have the default prefix $HOME for installation as the entire home directory will be tarred up when initialising the grid libraries for LHAPDF(!)

  • For this you will also need to install and link against boost (painful I know…)

  • As of 20/4/2018, the minimum known compatible version of gcc with NNLOJET is gcc 4.9.1. Versions above this are generally ok

Grid Script Setup

To start using pyHepGrid you need to do the following steps.

  1. Keep track of all your changes by committing them (e.g. fork the remote)

  2. (optional) Create your own header (e.g. copy and edit the src/pyHepGrid/headers/ and add yourself to the header_mappings in src/pyHepGrid/src/ This is used for a python import so a header in some_folder/ would require your_name: some_folder.your_header. If you do not add yourself the will be used.

  3. Generate a similar to inside the runcards folder. is used to run pyHepGrid not your program. The only required setting in there is dictCard, but you can also overwrite any setting from your header, e.g. BaseSeed or producRun.

  4. Create folders on gfal to save your in and output. They have to match grid_input_dir, grid_output_dir and grid_warmup_dir of your header

  5. If you use you own program: Write you own runfile similar to example/ This script will be ran on each node, so it should be self-contained and Python 2.7 compatible. It should also be able to handle all arguments of the, even if they are not used in the script itself. An argument parser and other common functions are shipped with pyHepGrid in, will automatically be copied to each grid node and can be used on there. To run on Dirac make sure you do not depend on a specific local setup, i.e. download all required programs from gfal or use what is available on the /cvmfs/. Wrapper around gfal are provided in, e.g. in your runfile you can download grid_file with

    import grid_functions as gf
    gf.copy_from_grid(grid_file, local_file, args)
  6. To install and run the scripts, run

    python3 install --user
    python3 develop --user

    (Include the --prefix option and add to a location contained in $PYTHONPATH if you want to install it elsewhere). --user is used on the gridui as we don’t have access to the python3 installation - if you have your own install, feel free to drop it.


    We currently need to be in develop mode given the way that the header system works - the plan is for this to change at some point.

    Alternatively: if you wish to run pyHepGrid from within a Conda environment, install the scripts by moving to the directory containing and running:

    conda install conda-build
    conda develop .

    If prompted to install any dependencies required by conda-build in step 1., type Y to proceed.

After this you should be able to run pyHepGrid test runcards/ -B. This will execute the your runfile locally inside the test_sandbox folder. You might want to try running it with a clean environment, e.g. without sourcing your ~/.bashrc. If this works fine you can try submitting to the arc test queue with pyHepGrid run runcards/ -B --test. The test queue highly limited in resources. Only submit a few short jobs to it (<10).

Further customisations (advanced usage)

Beside the header and runcard setup, pyHepGrid has two big attack points for customisations. First and foremost the runfile which is run on each grid node. This is similar to other grid-scripts that you might have used before. Additionally you can change some local background behaviour through the runmode. A runmode is program specific, e.g. there is a runmode "NNLOJET" and "HEJ". The behaviour of pyHepGrid ini is completely controlled by the runmode. You could set it up to upload some common files (runcards, warmup-files, executable, etc.) with gfal before submitting jobs. An simple example for a completely customised runfile and runmode is provided in the example/ folder.

If you want to implement your own runmode write a program class as a subclass of the ProgramInterface. You can then load your program as a runmode in your, e.g. you could specify runmode="pyHepGrid.src.programs.HEJ" to explicitly load HEJ (the shorter runmode=HEJ is just an alias). As always, to get started it is easiest to look at existing runmodes or programs, i.e. the or any default in Dependent on your setup you might not need to implement all functions. For example to use the initialisation in production mode you only need to implement the init_production function.

You can also use your custom program class to pass non-standard arguments to your runfile by overwriting the include_arguments, include_production_arguments or include_warmup_arguments functions. You can add, change or even delete entries as you want (the latter is not advised). The output of include_agruments is directly passed to your runfile as a command-line argument of the form --key value for Arc and Dirac, or replaces the corresponding arguments in the slurm_template.


pyHepGrid will and can not sanitise your setup and it is your responsibility to ensure your code runs as intended. As a general advice try to reuse code shipped with pyHepGrid where possible, in particular from, since this should be tested to some expend.

Arc Proxy setup

By default, jobs will fail if the arc proxy ends before they finish running, so it’s a good idea to keep them synced with new proxies as you need:

# Create new proxy
arcproxy -S pheno -N -c validityPeriod=24h -c vomsACvalidityPeriod=24h

# Sync current jobs with latest proxy
arcsync -c
arcrenew -a

There is also a method to create a long proxy for one week describes in Jeppe’s grid tutorial.

Automated (set & forget)

In proxy_renewal/ are some simple scripts to automatically update your proxy. To get these working, create a file

nano ~/.password/arcpw
chmod 400 ~/.password/arcpw

and enter your password. Make sure you that your ~/.password/arcpw is hidden, i.e. ls -l ~/.password/arcpw should show -rw------- otherwise other users could read your password. Afterwards add

export CERT_PW_LOCATION=~/.password/arcpw
export PATH=/path/to/pyHepGrid/proxy_renewal:${PATH}

to your ~/.bashrc and source it. Afterwards you should be able to run newproxy to get a new 24 hour proxy without typing your password, you can check the proxy time with arcproxy -I.

syncjobs will update the certificate on all your queuing and running jobs. Set it to run as a cron job at least twice per day, such that no jobs will ever be stopped do to an invalid certificate.


Installing Dirac is quite easy nowadays! This information comes directly from Running all commands will install dirac version $DIRAC_VERSION to $HOME/dirac_ui. You can change this by modifying the variable DIRAC_FOLDER

DIRAC_VERSION="-r v6r22p6 -i 27 -g v14r1" # replace with newest version

wget -np -O dirac-install
chmod u+x dirac-install
./dirac-install $DIRAC_VERSION
source $DIRAC_FOLDER/bashrc # this is not your .bashrc but Dirac's bashrc, see note below
dirac-proxy-init -x  # Here you will need to give your grid certificate password
dirac-configure -F -S GridPP -C dips:// -I
dirac-proxy-init -g pheno_user -M


Remember you might need to source $DIRAC_FOLDER/bashrc every time you want to use dirac.