Tutorial or Teaching Labs HowTo

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This page explains how to use Grid'5000 for tutorials/labs, for instance in a teaching course or project at the university, or in thematic schools.

Forewords about organizing a tutorial or a teaching lab in Grid5000

Note.png Note

Although the Grid5000 charter does not explicitly mention tutorials or labs, the use Grid5000 for educational purposes is allowed.
However, some rules applies, and some steps must be carefully followed.

First of all, using a single account shared between the multiple students is not allowed. Every student must have her own account.

Also, accounts have to be nominative (see below for the required information). Generic accounts are not allowed.

To that purpose, to ease the account creation phase for a large group of students, Grid'5000 provides a special procedure for a mass account creation.

Second, the teacher may consider reserving resources in the platform to insure students will be able to have access to some of them during the lab.

Third, the teacher may consider helping students with their first access to the platform, as a basic technical knowledge is required for the access setup.

Students accounts creation

The workflow for the students accounts creation is the following:

  1. Send an email to the Grid'5000 technical team at support-staff@lists.grid5000.fr, with the subject Tutorial Accounts Creation: ..., to inform about your wish to create a group of accounts for students. It this email, some information have to be provided, see the next section.
  2. Prepare a file containing the list of your students first names, last names and e-mail address. See below for an example of such a CSV file.
  3. Wait for the answer from the Grid'5000 technical team (support staff), that will provide an group/engine name. Connect to a Grid'5000 frontend and use the g5k-create-tutorial-accounts to launch the actual creation of the accounts, using as parameters the provided engine name and the students CSV file your prepared.

Upon the execution of the script, each student will receive an email containing the instructions to setup her password and ssh keys.

Once a student will have set her password and ssh key, her account will be immediately active (only a few minutes may be required for the passwords and the ssh keys to be synchronized to all Grid'5000 sites and servers). No other action will be required from you.

Expected information in the e-mail to send to the technical team (support staff)

The mass creation of accounts requires a first manual step by the technical team, to setup in the User Management Service of Grid'5000 an account creation automation engine as well as a dedicated group of users for the tutorial students.

To that purpose, the technical team needs some information from you. Please send an e-mail to support-staff@lists.grid5000.fr with the following content :

Participants/students affiliation information
---------------------------------------------
- COUNTRY: → <Country of residence of the participants in case of a lab of a university course (i.e. country of the university). Can be 'n/a' or 'various' for an international workshop tutorial, because the nationality or residence of the participants is unknown.>
- UNIVERSITY: → <Name of the university of the students in case of a lab of a university course, e.g. Univ. Grenoble Alpes. Can be 'n/a' or 'various' for participants of a workshop tutorial for instance, because anything more precise would not be relevant.>
- ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT/FACULTY: → <Name of the university department of the students in case of a lab of a university course, e.g. Grenoble INP/Ensimag, Master Recherche MOSIG. Can be 'n/a' or 'various' for participants of a workshop tutorial for instance, because anything more precise would not be relevant.>
- TEACHING UNIT/MODULE: → <Name of the teaching unit or module of the students in case of a lab of a university course, e.g. Distributed System, Parallel Computing. Can be 'n/a' for participants of a workshop tutorial for instance, because anything more precise would not be relevant.>
- EMPLOYEE TYPE: → <One of 'bachelor/master student' or 'PhD student' or 'post-doc', 'research/professor', 'engineer'. Can be 'n/a' or 'various' if the employee type is either not the same or not known for all participants.>

Tutorial/lab information
------------------------
- YEAR: → <Year the tutorial/lab takes place in, e.g. the current year.>
- NAME: → <Short name for tutorial/lab, e.g. 'uga-mosig-cp'. That name should be composed of the acronyms of the university, the academic department and the teaching unit/module. It will be prefixed by 'lab' and the year to compose the engine/group name, e.g. lab-2020-uga-mosig-cp. >
- DESCRIPTION: → <One sentence describing the expected usage of the platform for the tutorial/lab.>
- MANAGERS: → <Grid'5000 username(s) of the person(s) in charge for the tutorial (e.g. you). Beware that only the first username will be allowed to use the engine with the g5k-create-tutorial-accounts script to create the students accounts.>
- END DATE: → <Date of the end of validity of the student access to Grid'5000, as granted thanks to the tutorial/lab. This is typically the end date of the tutorial/lab.>
- EXTRA GROUPS: → <Optionally any extra Grid'5000 group(s) that the students have to be member of, e.g. to get access to some group storage (sto-*).>

Format of the students list CSV file

You have to create a CSV file containing the information about the students. Such a file must be structured as follows:

  • one line per student
  • lines formatted as first name, last name, email address

For example, if you want to create two student accounts for John Doe and Carrie Mathison, a valid CSV file list.csv should contain:

John, Doe, john.doe@student.unix-lambda.fr
Carrie, Mathison, carrie.mathison@students.univ-lambda.fr

We remind that the use of academic e-mail addresses is to be strongly preferred to gmail or any other non-professional services.

That CSV file will have to be uploaded (scp) to a Grid'5000 frontend for the next step.

Use g5k-create-tutorial-accounts on the frontend to create accounts

Assuming your are connected to Grenoble's frontend and where you uploaded the CSV file named list.csv.

To create the students user accounts, do the following:

Terminal.png fgrenoble:
g5k-create-tutorial-accounts -f list.csv -e myEngineName
Warning.png Warning

g5k-create-tutorial-accounts automatically creates active accounts. The operation cannot be undone: accounts cannot be deleted and any modification has to be done manually on every account individually. Therefore, before executing the script, be sure that all the information contained in the CSV file is correct.

Resource reservation

Depending on your needs, you can reserve Grid'5000 resources in advance.

You probably don't need to reserve resources if:

  • Your tutorial occurs during the usage policy restriction period (daytime in Paris timezone)
  • and/or it does not require many resources
  • and/or it does not have many participants

If you still want to reserve resources in advance, the best strategy is to reserve them as usual in Grid'5000, and kill your reservation just before the beginning of your tutorial. If the tutorial duration is important, you can use several reservations and kill them as the tutorial progress.

Warning.png Warning

If you plan to use more resources than allowed by the Grid'5000 usage policy, you have to make a request for a special usage permission. The procedure is detailed in Grid5000:SpecialUsage.

Access to Grid'5000, connection using SSH

Past experiences show that many problems are related to some difficulties with the connection to Grid'5000 with SSH keys.

To use Grid'5000, students must have basic knowledge of SSH, and especially know how to generate SSH private and public keys and use them to connect to a remote machines. Don't hesitate to spend time at the beginning of the tutorial to explain it. More information on this topic is available at SSH and Getting_Started#Connect_to_a_Grid.275000_access_machine.

FAQ

If this FAQ does not cover one of your questions, do not hesitate to question by mail [1].

Does every student account need to be validated before the student can use the platform?

Contrary to what is done with the normal workflow using the account creation form, no validation is required when the engine is used. The script g5k-create-tutorial-accounts creates active accounts.

What do the students need to do to get their account ready to use?

Created accounts are active right away after the initial procedure, but the students have to create their password and SSH keys before being able to connect for the first time. Otherwise, they are not able to connect to any of the grid5000 services.

To do so, they received by email an URL that they must open in a web browser. Every student must fill the form in the web browser, with a personal password and SSH public key.

My students told me they did not received any email

Do the following:

  • Check that the email addresses you put in the CSV file are the correct.
  • Ask the students to check their spam box.
  • Ask the students to reset their password using Special:G5KChangePassword. This will send a new email to them, with the instruction to reset their password.

One of my student is not able to log in

Some possible causes:

  • The student is not using the correct login. The login is not an email address. He should have received it by email.
  • The student did not set up the password using the URL received by email.
  • The student does not remember the password. In that case, the password can reset using Special:G5KChangePassword.

One of my student is not able to ssh the frontend

Possible causes:

  • The student is not using a correct login. The Grid'5000 login may differ from their usual login when using a workstation or another platform. In that case, the student can use the -l G5K_USERNAME option in the SSH command.
  • The student did not set their SSH private key in the machine (workstation) where the connection to Grid'5000 is made from.
  • The student did not set up any SSH key when they used the URL to set up their password. To fix this, the student can connect to UMS, click on the left panel SSH keys, and then copy/past their public SSH key.

Note that one cannot connect to the Grid'5000 frontends directly (e.g. fgrenoble.grenoble.grid5000.fr). One first needs first to connect to the access machine: access.grid5000.fr.

To avoid the two-steps connection (access machine, then frontend) and connect directly to frontends, one can configure the SSH config file ~/.ssh/config as follows:

Host g5k
  User G5K_USERNAME
  Hostname access.grid5000.fr
  ForwardAgent no
Host *.g5k
  User G5K_USERNAME
  ProxyCommand ssh g5k -W "$(basename %h .g5k):%p"
  ForwardAgent no

Then,

  • Accessing the frontend (here, of Grenoble) can be done with:
ssh grenoble.g5k

From there, resources access is managed with the Grid'5000 tools (OAR commands and so on). See the Getting Started tutorial.

What happen if one of my students already has a Grid5000 account?

This case is covered by the procedure: You have to specify in the CSV file the email address the student is using in the existing account. Several cases then:

  • If the existing account is active, the account is just added in the group of the tutorial/lab.
  • If the existing account is expiring (not in any granting access group anymore), the account is added in the groups of the tutorial/lab and therefore will become active again.
  • If the existing account is retired, the account is automatically reactived before being added to the groups of the tutorial/lab as above.

However, if the existing account is locked, it needs a manual intervention from support-staff. For the record, an account can be locked for one of these two reasons: its email address bounces (mostly because invalid) or the user was sanctioned for a misuse the platform.

The g5k-create-tutorial-accounts script returned an error for one of student

If you get an error, please contact support-staff.

List of the tutorials/labs using Grid5000

Note.png Note

If you indeed organize a tutorial which uses Grid5000, we kindly ask it to be recorded in the list below.

The following list contains the tutorials already organized on Grid'5000
  • Un TP en Master 1 Informatique à l'Université de Lille, depuis 2010. Initiation à un environnement et des paradigmes de calcul distribué: réservation de machines et déploiement (oar/kadeploy), traitement d'applications Embarrassingly parallel en mode batch, programmation MPI, expérimentation, scalabilité et mesure de performance. Un groupe d'une vingtaine d'étudiants environ. 3 séances de TP environ.
  • Un TP à Rennes, avec Nikos Parlavantzas et une intervention dans le master MRI (1 cours, 2 TP par D. Margery, années 2013-2014, 2014-2015 et 2015-2016. Repris par Matthieu Simonin depuis))
  • Un TP au cours de http://sc-camp, en 2011
  • Un TP à l'ENS Lyon (TP OpenStack aux master 2)
  • Un TP à l'ENS Lyon (12/2013) sur OpenCL (Sujet [2])
  • TP à l'ENS Lyon (2014-2015) "Distributed Systems" M1 course
  • Un projet, sur 8 semaines, à l'Ensimag (Grenoble-INP) (automne 2015, automne 2016) "Systèmes distribués et Cloud Avancé" (enseignant: Grégory Mounié), une cinquantaine d'élèves de niveau M2, groupés en 12 équipes
  • Un projet de Licence 3 informatique à l'Université de Montpellier (semestre pair 2016) "Prise en main d’OpenStack et mise en oeuvre d'un outil de déploiement d'applications simples sur des VMs" ) groupe de 4 étudiants, encadré par Hinde Lilia Bouziane.
  • Un TP en Master 2 à l'Université de Montpellier, décembre 2016, octobre et novembre 2017, novembre 2018 dans le cadre d'un cours "E-applications". Il s'agit d'un TP d'initiation à l'utilisation d'une plateforme distribuée : réservation de machines, exécution d'une application à distance et importation des résultats. Une trentaine d'étudiants répartis en deux groupes en 2016, une cinquantaine d'étudiants en 2017 et une quarantaine en 2018. TP encadré par Hinde Lilia Bouziane.
  • Un projet de Licence 3 informatique à l'Université de Montpellier, de novembre 2017 à juin 2018 (groupe de 2 étudiants). Le projet porte sur la programmation d'un traitement parallèle et distribué d'images. Projet encadré par Hinde Lilia Bouziane.
  • Un TP à l'IMT Atlantique (campus de Nantes) de 4 étudiants encadré par Mario Südholt de octobre 2018 à janvier 2019.
  • Un projet de Master 1 informatique à l'Université de Montpellier, de janvier à juin 2019 (groupe de 3 étudiants). Résumé "Nous disposons d'un algorithme d'apprentissage de relations sémantiques basé sur les relations existantes dans le réseau lexical du JeuxDeMots (http:www.jeuxdemots.org). La table générée est de grande taille, de l'ordre de plusieurs centaines de millions de lignes. L'objectif du projet est de distribuer cette table et de mettre en ouvre un algorithme d'apprentissage et d'exploitation de manière distribuée et parallèle.". Projet encadré par Hinde Bouziane et Mathieu Lafourcade.
  • Un projet de Master 1 informatique à l'Université de Montpellier, de janvier à juin 2019 (groupe de 2 étudiants). Le projet porte sur la programmation d'un traitement parallèle et distribué d'images (photogrammétrie). Projet encadré par Hinde Lilia Bouziane.
  • Un projet "deep learning" en M2 GI et Polytech INFO4 à l'université de Grenoble, de février à avril 2019, puis 2020. Projet encadré par Georges Quénot.
  • TP de l'UE Parallélisme, du M1 de l'UCBL (Simon Delamare), 2019-2020
  • TP de l'Université de Lille, M2 Data Science, MPI & GPU (Pierre Fortin), 2020-2021
  • TP Ensimag 3A ISI, systèmes distribués (Grégory Mounié), 2020-2021
  • TP de la filière MOSIG de l'UGA, calcul parallèle (Arnaud Legrand, Bruno Raffin, Frédéric Wagner), 2020-2021.
  • TP de l'Université de Montpellier : dans le cadre d'un cours "E-applications" de Master 2, initiation à l'utilisation d'une plateforme distribuée partagée : réservation de machines, exécution d'une application à distance et importation des résultats. Deux groupes de 25 étudiants (Hinde Bouziane), 2020
  • TP pour le Groupe Calcul, introduction à Grid'5000 (Simon Delamarre), 2020