Ocean Dynamics Course: Computing

The primary tool for the course will be the MIT-GCM. The newest version of the manual is here. You can follow Chapter 3 and install the model yourself anywhere you like, and you may find that the standard configuration scripts work fine for your environment. If you want to use it on our local supercomputer, Max, you can follow the steps below. The advantage is that here you'll be all set up for running it in parallel, when we get to that point.

Running the MIT-GCM on Max:

  1. Get an account on Max (email hpc-max@nyu.edu)
  2. Once logged into l1.ccss.nyu.edu, copy the tarball to your home directory and untar it:

    cp /home/MITgcm/MITgcm-cvs20070112.tgz ~
    tar xvfz MITgcm-cvs20070112.tgz

  3. To prepare to build the model executable, you need to be on a node that is set up like a compute node (l1 is a login node):

    ssh l4

  4. You can look at section 3.3 to see a description of the subdirectories in the newly created ~/MITgcm/ directory. All of the pre-set experiments are located in the verification subdirectory. Here we'll go through the steps to run the barotropic gyre example I covered in class (see Section 3.9 for all the details on this example simulation).

    cd ~/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/

  5. Before building the executable, we need to change a few things. There are a two primary files you must deal with: SIZE.h which sets model resolution and 'tiling' (distribution of fields in a two-dimensional domain decomposition), and data, the namelist file that sets physical parameters (like values of beta and viscosity) as well as run-control parameters (such as the timestep, the length of the run, and the frequency of saves of model output). Read the manual section linked above for info about each parameter.

    To remove tiling (but keep the resolution the same as in the the tutorial description), first diff against my copy of SIZE.h, then simply replace yours with mine:

    diff code/SIZE.h ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/code/SIZE.h
    cp ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/code/SIZE.h code/

    Now replace all namelists with my namelists (say yes to overwriting), since I have swapped the ending '&' symbols with '/', as is necessary with our compilers.

    cp ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/input_orig/data input/
    cp ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/input_orig/data.mnc input/
    cp ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/input_orig/data.pkg input/
    cp ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/input_orig/eedata input/
    cp ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/input_orig/eedata.mth input/

  6. Note that the files windx.sin_y and topog.box in input are created by the matlab script gendata.m, also in input. Looking at that file, you can see how easy it is to create your own inputs. Now we will run the a configuration script that 'makes' a makefile, using a configuration file created by the system adminstrator for Max, and build the model into the code directory. These commands will take about 5-10 minutes.

    cd code/
    ../../../tools/genmake2 -of /home/MITgcm/linux_ppc64_xlf_ncar+max
    make depend

  7. Now we will make a specific directory for your first run. We will copy the input files and the executable into that directory:

    cd ..
    mkdir run1
    cp input/* run1
    cp code/mitgcmuv run1
    cd run1

  8. Now you can try to test-run the model. The line below will redirect the STDOUT output to the file output.txt, and will finish in just a few seconds, since in data, the end time parameter is set as endTime=12000 (seconds), so the model runs for only 10 timesteps.

    ./mitgcmuv > output.txt

  9. You can compare the resulting output.txt to the sample on in the results subdirectory. You also should now find a new directory called mnc_test_*_0001 where '*' is some string of numbers. This directory contains the model output in 'netcdf' format (see UCAR's Netcdf page). There is nothing significant since the run was so short.
  10. To finally do a long run (as the one showed in class), you first need to change the end time parameter in data to a longer time. You can simply comment the endTime=12000 line and uncomment the endTime=311040000 line, which tells the model to run for 3600 days (in seconds). One must use the compute nodes of the cluster for jobs that take more than a few minutes, and these are accessed by submitting jobs using the Portable Batch System. See the Max page on submitting jobs for more info.

    Copy my PBS script and use this to run your job after changing the end time above. Assuming you are still in the run1 directory:

    cp ~shafer/model/MITgcm/verification/tutorial_barotropic_gyre/input_orig/runmitgcm.pbs .
    qsub runmitgcm.pbs

  11. You can see all submitted jobs by typing the command pbstop. Eventually you should see an 'R' by your run, showing it is running. It will take about 1 hour. When its done, it won't be in the queue anymore. You will then find a new mnc_test_*_0002 subdirectory, and this will contain new output. All of the relevant output will be stored in the netcdf file state.0000000000.t001.nc. You can look at it with the tool ncview as follows:

    ncview state.0000000000.t001.nc &

  12. If you are a Matlab user (as you should be!), you can get the fields into your workspace by first putting the paths to some NetCDF utilities into your Matlab path (I suggest adding this line to your .cshrc, or whereever you set your path):


    Then after restarting matlab and moving to the run1 directory, you can grab files with the menu-driven function getnc as follows:

    foo = getnc('state.0000000000.t001.nc');

    Just follow the instructions and you can now do whatever you like with the output.