Managing and monitoring PBS jobs

Created by Unknown User (bjsmith), last modified on 2022-08-31

Here are some of the most useful commands for managing and monitoring jobs launched with PBS and running on Casper or Cheyenne nodes.

Most of these commands will only modify or query data from jobs that are active on the same system. That is, run each command on Cheyenne if you want to interact with a job on Cheyenne.

Run any of these commands followed by -h to get help, as in qhist -h.

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Run qdel with the job ID to kill a pending or running job.

qdel jobID

Kill all of your own pending or running jobs. (Be sure to use backticks as shown.)

qdel `qselect -u $USER`


Run qhist for information on finished jobs.

qhist -u $USER

Your output will include jobs that finished on the current day unless you specify the number (N) of days to include.

qhist -u $USER -d N

Your output will be similar to this, with Mem(GB) and CPU(%) indicating approximate total memory usage per job and average CPU usage per core per job:

Job ID  User     Queue  Nodes NCPUs Finish  RMem(GB)  Mem(GB) CPU(%) Elap(h)
2426690 stormyk  regular    1     1 05-1527        -     0.3   75.0    0.09
2426693 stormyk  regular    1     1 05-1527        -     0.1   90.0    0.09
2426541 stormyk  regular    1     1 05-1523        -     0.1   83.0    0.03
2426542 stormyk  regular    1     1 05-1524        -     0.1   70.0    0.04
2426683 stormyk  regular    1     1 05-1523        -     0.1    0.0    0.02
2426444 stormyk  regular    1     1 05-1522        -     0.1   19.0    0.02
2426435 stormyk  regular    1     1 05-1522        -     0.1   13.0    0.02

The following variation will generate a list of jobs that finished with non-zero exit codes to help you identify jobs that failed.

qhist -u $USER -r x0


Run this to see the status of all of your own unfinished jobs. 

qstat -u $USER

Your output will be similar to what is shown just below. Most column headings are self-explanatory – NDS for nodes, TSK for tasks, and so on.

In the status (S) column, most jobs are either queued (Q) or running (R). Sometimes jobs are held (H), which might mean they are dependent on the completion of another job. If you have a job that is held and is not dependent on another job, CISL recommends killing and resubmitting the job.

                                                       Req'd  Req'd   Elap
Job ID         Username Queue   Jobname SessID NDS TSK Memory Time  S Time
------         -------- -----   ------- ------ --- --- ------ ----- - ---- 
657237.chadmin apatelsm economy ens603   46100 60  216   --   02:30 R 01:24 
657238.chadmin apatelsm regular ens605     --   1   36   --   00:05 H   -- 
657466.chadmin apatelsm economy ens701    5189 60  216   --   02:30 R 00:46 
657467.chadmin apatelsm regular ens703     --   1   36   --   00:10 H   --

Following are examples of qstat with some other commonly used options and arguments.

Get a long-form summary of the status of an unfinished job. (Use this only sparingly; it places a high load on PBS.)

qstat -f jobID

Get a single-line summary of the status of an unfinished or recently completed job (within 72 hours).

qstat -x jobID

Get information about unfinished jobs in a specified queue.

qstat queue_name

See job activity by queue (e.g., pending, running) in terms of numbers of jobs.

qstat -Q

Display information for all of your pending, running, and finished jobs.

qstat -x -u $USER

Query jobs running on one system by specifying @cheyenne or @casper from either system as shown here. (Only these options are supported when running qstat in this cross-server mode: -x, -u, -w, -n, -s)

qstat -w -u $USER @cheyenne