Cambridge HPC Configuration

All nf-core pipelines have been successfully configured for use on the Cambridge HPC cluster at the The University of Cambridge. To use, run the pipeline with -profile cambridge. This will download and launch the cambridge.config which has been pre-configured with a setup suitable for the Cambridge HPC cluster. Using this profile, either a docker image containing all of the required software will be downloaded, and converted to a Singularity image or a Singularity image downloaded directly before execution of the pipeline.

Install Nextflow

The latest version of Nextflow is not installed by default on the Cambridge HPC cluster CSD3. You can install it with conda:

module load miniconda/3
# set up Bioconda according to the Bioconda documentation, notably setting up channels
conda config --add channels defaults
conda config --add channels bioconda
conda config --add channels conda-forge
# create the environment env_nf, and install the tool nextflow
conda create --name env_nf nextflow
# activate the environment containing nextflow
conda activate env_nf
# once done with the environment, deactivate
conda deactivate

Alternatively, you can install Nextflow into a directory you have write access to. Follow these instructions from the Nextflow documentation. This alternative method requires also to update java.

# move to desired directory on HPC
cd /home/<username>/path/to/dir
# get the newest version
wget -qO- | bash
# update java version to the latest
tar xvfz jdk-20_linux-x64_bin.tar.gz
# if all tools are compatible with the java version you chose, add these lines to .bashrc
export JAVA_HOME=/home/<username>/path/to/dir/jdk-20.0.1
export PATH=/home/<username>/path/to/dir/jdk-20.0.1/bin:$PATH
# Once above is done `java --version` should return `java 20.0.1 2023-04-18`
java --version

Set up Singularity cache

Singularity allows the use of containers and will use a caching strategy. First, you might want to set the NXF_SINGULARITY_CACHEDIR bash environment variable, pointing at your hpc-work location. If not, it will be automatically assigned to the current directory.

# do this once per login, or add these lines to .bashrc
export NXF_SINGULARITY_CACHEDIR=/home/<username>/rds/hpc-work/path/to/cache/dir

Once done, and ready to use Nextflow, you can check that the Singularity module is loaded by default when logging on the cluster.

module list
# If singularity is not loaded:
module load singularity

Run Nextflow

Here is an example with the nf-core pipeline sarek (read documentation here). The user includes the project name and the node.

# Launch the nf-core pipeline for a test database
# with the Cambridge profile
nextflow run nf-core/sarek -profile test,cambridge.config --partition "cclake" --project "NAME-SL3-CPU" --outdir nf-sarek-test

All of the intermediate files required to run the pipeline will be stored in the work/ directory. It is recommended to delete this directory after the pipeline has finished successfully because it can get quite large, and all of the main output files will be saved in the results/ directory anyway.

NB: You will need an account to use the Cambridge HPC cluster in order to run the pipeline. If in doubt contact IT. NB: Nextflow will need to submit the jobs via SLURM to the Cambridge HPC cluster and as such the commands above will have to be executed on one of the login nodes. If in doubt contact IT.

Config file

See config file on GitHub

// Description is overwritten with user specific flags
params {
    config_profile_description = 'Cambridge HPC cluster profile.'
    // FIXME EmelineFavreau was the last to edit this
    config_profile_contact = 'Andries van Tonder ('
    config_profile_url = ""
    partition = null
    project = null
    max_memory = 192.GB
    max_cpus = 56
    max_time = 12.h
// Description is overwritten with user specific flags
singularity {
    enabled = true
    autoMounts = true
process {
    executor = 'slurm'
    clusterOptions = "-A $params.project -p $params.partition"