Julia user guide

Table of contents:

Julia installations

 There is no system-installed Julia on the clusters. Therefore you need to load Julia with the module system. Different versions of Julia are available via the module system on Rackham, Snowy, and Bianca. Some installed packages are available via the module.

As the time of writing we have the following modules:

[user@rackham1 ~]$ module avail julia
        julia/1.9.3 (Default)


"LTS" stands for Long term support.

To load a specific version of Julia into your environment, just type e.g.

        $ module load julia/1.6.7_LTS


        $ module load julia

will give you the default version (1.9.3), often the latest version.

A good and important suggestion is that you always specify a certain version. This is to be able to reproduce your work, a very important key in research!

You can run a julia script in the shell by:

        $ julia example_script.jl

After loading the appropriate modules for Julia, you will have access to the read-eval-print-loop (REPL) command line by typing julia.

        $ julia

You will get a prompt like this:


Julia has different modes, the one mentioned above is the so-called Julian mode where one can execute commands. The description for accessing these modes will be given in the following paragraphs. Once you are done with your work in any of the modes, you can return to the Julian mode by pressing the backspace key.

While being on the Julian mode you can enter the shell mode by typing ;:


This will allow you to use Linux commands. Notice that the availabilty of these commands depend on the OS, for instance, on Windows it will depend on the terminal that you have installed and if it is visible to the Julia installation.

Another mode available in Julia is the package manager mode, it can be accessed by typing ] in the Julian mode:

(v1.8) pkg>

This will make your interaction with the package manager Pkg easier, for instance, instead of typing the complete name of Pkg commands such as Pkg.status() in the Julian mode, you can just type status in the package mode.

The last mode is the help mode, you can enter this mode from the Julian one by typing ?, then you may type some string from which you need more information:

help?> ans

search: ans transpose transcode contains expanduser instances MathConstants readlines LinearIndices leading_ones leading_zeros
A variable referring to the last computed value, automatically set at the interactive promp

Backspace will get you back to julian mode

Exit with <Ctrl-D> or 'exit()'. 

More detailed information about the modes in Julia can be found here: https://docs.julialang.org/en/v1/stdlib/REPL/


Julia is according to https://julialang.org/:

  • Fast
  • Dynamic
  • Reproducible
  • Composable
  • General
  • Open source

Documentation for version 1.8.

Julia discussions.


Some packages are pre-installed. That means that they are available also on Bianca.These include:

  1.   "BenchmarkTools"
  2.   "CSV"
  3.   "CUDA"
  4.   "DataFrames"
  5.   "Distributed"
  6.   "DistributedArrays"
  7.   "Gadfly"
  8.   "IJulia"
  9.   "MPI"
  10.   "Plots"
  11.   "PlotlyJS"
  12.   "PyPlot"

+ all "standard" libraries.

This list will be extended while you, as users, may wish more packages.

You may control the present "central library" by typing in julia shell :

      using Pkg
      Pkg.activate(DEPOT_PATH[2]*"/environments/v1.8");     #change version accordingly
      Pkg.activate(DEPOT_PATH[1]*"/environments/v1.8");     #to return to user library

Packages are imported or loaded by the commands ``import`` and ``using``, respectively. The difference is shown here. Or briefly:

  • To use module functions, use import Module to import the module, and Module.fn(x) to use the functions.
  • Alternatively, using Module will import all exported Module functions into the current namespace.

Use  centrally installed packages the first time 

You may have to build the package the first time you run it. Julia will in such case ask you to do so. Then:

> using Pkg
> Pkg.activate(DEPOT_PATH[2]*"/environments/v1.9");      #change version accordingly
> Pkg.build(<package_name>)

How to install personal packages

You may ignore the pre-installed packages. They are there mainly for Bianca users, but may help you to relieving some disk space! If you ignore you can jump over the 

Check if packages are installed centrally

To make sure that the package is not already installed, type in Julia:

using Pkg
      Pkg.activate(DEPOT_PATH[2]*"/environments/v1.8");  #change version accordingly

To go back to your own personal packages:


You can load (using/import) ANY package from both lotcal and central installation irrespective to which environment you activate. However, the setup is that your package is prioritized if there are similar names.

Start an installation locally

To install personal packages, start to be sure hat you are in your local environmenyou type within Julia:


This will install under the path ~/.julia/packages/. Then you can load it by just doing "using/import <package_name>".

      using <package_name>

You can also activate a "package prompt" in julia with   ']':

(@v1.8) pkg> add <package name>

For installing specific versions specify with  <package name>@<X.Y.Z>.

After adding you may be asked to precompile or build. Do so according to instruction given on the screen. Otherwise, first time importing or using the package, Julia may start a precompilation that will take a few seconds up to several minutes.

Exit with <backspace>:


Own packages on Bianca

You can use make an installation on Rackham and then use the wharf to copy it over to your ~/.julia/ directory.

Otherwise, send an email to support@uppmax.uu.se and we'll help you.

Running IJulia from Jupyter notebook

Like for python it is possible to run a Julia in a notebook, i.e. in a web interface with possibility of inline figures and debugging. An easy way to do this is to load the python module as well. In shell:

$ module load julia/1.8.5
$ module load python/3.10.8
$ julia

In Julia:

using IJulia

A Firefox session will start with the Jupyter notebook interface. 

If not, you may have to build IJulia the first time with Pkg.build(“IJulia”). Since “IJulia” is pre-installed centrally on UPPMAX you must activate the central environment by following these steps belo. This should only be needed the first time like this

> using Pkg
> Pkg.activate(DEPOT_PATH[2]*"/environments/v1.8");
> Pkg.build("IJulia")
> notebook(dir="</path/to/work/dir/>")

This builds the package also locally before starting the notebook. If not done, Jupyter will not find the julia kernel of that version. With notebook(dir="</path/to/work/dir/>", detached=true) the notebook will not be killed when you exit your REPL julia session in the terminal.

How to run parallel jobs

There are several packages available for Julia that let you run parallel jobs. Some of them are only able to run on one node, while others try to leverage several machines. You'll find an introduction here.

Run interactively on compute node

Alwasy run parallel only on the compute nodes. This is an example with 4 cores on Rackham

$ interactive -A <proj> -n 4 -t 3:00:00

Running interactively at UPPMAX

Slurm user guide


Threading divides up your work among a number of cores within a node. The threads share their memory. Below is an example from within Julia. First, in the shell type:

      $ julia

in Julia:

using Base.Threads
      a = zeros(10)
@threads for i = 1:10
        a[i] = Threads.threadid()

Distributed computing

Distributed processing uses individual processes with individual memory, that communicate with each other. In this case, data movement and communication is explicit.
Julia supports various forms of distributed computing.

  •     A native master-worker system based on remote procedure calls: Distributed.jl
  •     MPI through MPI.jl : a Julia wrapper for the MPI protocol, see further down.
  •     DistributedArrays.jl: distribute an array among workers

If choosing between distributed and MPI, distributed is easier to program, whereas MPI may be more suitable for multi-node applications.

For more detailed info please confer the manual for distributed computing and julia MPI.  

Master-Worker model
We need to launch Julia with

$ julia -p 4

then inside Julia you can check


which should print 5 and [2,3,4,5]. Why 5, you ask? Because *"worker 1"* is the *"boss"*. And bosses don't work.

As you can see, you can run distributed computing directly from the julia shell. 

Batch example

Julia script hello_world_distributed.jl:

using Distributed
# launch worker processes
num_cores = parse(Int, ENV["SLURM_CPUS_PER_TASK"])
println("Number of cores: ", nprocs())
println("Number of workers: ", nworkers())
# each worker gets its id, process id and hostname
for i in workers()
    id, pid, host = fetch(@spawnat i (myid(), getpid(), gethostname()))
    println(id, " " , pid, " ", host)
# remove the workers
for i in workers()

Batch script job_distributed.slurm:

#SBATCH -A j<proj>
#SBATCH -p devel
#SBATCH --job-name=distrib_jl     # create a short name for your job
#SBATCH --nodes=1                # node count
#SBATCH --ntasks=20              # total number of tasks across all nodes
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=1        # cpu-cores per task (>1 if multi-threaded tasks)
#SBATCH --time=00:01:00          # total run time limit (HH:MM:SS)
#SBATCH --mail-type=begin        # send email when job begins
#SBATCH --mail-type=end          # send email when job ends
#SBATCH --mail-user=<email>
module load julia/1.8.5
julia hello_world_distributed.jl

​Put job in queue:

$ sbatch job_distributed.slurm

Interactive example 

$ salloc -A <proj> -p node -N 1 -n 10 -t 1:0:0 

$ julia hello_world_distributed.jl


The Threaded and Distributed packages are included in the Base installation. However, in order to use MPI with Julia you will need to follow the next steps (only the first time):

# Load the tool chain which contains a MPI library

For julia/1.6.3 and earlier: 

      $ module load gcc/9.3.0 openmpi/3.1.5

For julia/1.6.7_LTS & 1.7.2: 

      $ module load gcc/10.3.0 openmpi/3.1.6

For julia/1.8.5: 

      $ module load gcc/11.3.0 openmpi/4.1.3
# Load Julia
$ ml julia/1.8.5   # or other 
# Start Julia on the command line
$ julia
# Change to ``package mode`` and add the ``MPI`` package
(v1.8) pkg> add MPI
# In the ``julian`` mode run these commands:
julia> using MPI
julia> MPI.install_mpiexecjl()
[ Info: Installing `mpiexecjl` to `~/.julia/bin`...
[ Info: Done!
# Add the installed ``mpiexecjl`` wrapper to your path on the Linux command line
$ export PATH=~/.julia/bin:$PATH
# Now the wrapper should be available on the command line

Because of how MPI works, we need to explicitly write our code into a file, juliaMPI.jl:

    import MPI
root = 0
r = MPI.Comm_rank(comm)
sr = MPI.Reduce(r, MPI.SUM, root, comm)
if(MPI.Comm_rank(comm) == root)
@printf("sum of ranks: %s\n", sr)

You can execute your code as in an interactive session with several cores (at least 3 in this case):

      $ module load gcc/11.3.0 openmpi/4.1.3
      $ export OMPI_MCA_btl_openib_allow_ib=1    # this is to get rid of some warnings
      $ mpiexecjl -np 3 julia juliaMPI.jl

A batch script, job_MPI.slurm, should include a "module load gcc/XXX openmpi/XXX"

#SBATCH -A j<proj>
#SBATCH -p devel
#SBATCH --job-name=MPI_jl        # create a short name for your job
#SBATCH --nodes=1                # node count
#SBATCH --ntasks=20              # total number of tasks across all nodes
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=1        # cpu-cores per task (>1 if multi-threaded tasks)
#SBATCH --time=00:05:00          # total run time limit (HH:MM:SS)
#SBATCH --mail-type=begin        # send email when job begins
#SBATCH --mail-type=end          # send email when job ends
#SBATCH --mail-user=<email>
module load julia/1.8.5
module load gcc/11.3.0 openmpi/4.1.3
export OMPI_MCA_btl_openib_allow_ib=1
export PATH=~/.julia/bin:$PATH
mpiexecjl -n 20 julia juliaMPI.jl

 Run with 

$ sbatch job_MPI.slurm

See the MPI.jl examples for more input!


Example Julia script, juliaCUDA.jl:

using CUDA, Test
N = 2^20
x_d = CUDA.fill(1.0f0, N)
y_d = CUDA.fill(2.0f0, N)
y_d .+= x_d
@test all(Array(y_d) .== 3.0f0)

Batch script juliaGPU.slurm, note settings for Bianca vs. Snowy:

#SBATCH -A <proj-id>
#SBATCH -M <snowy OR bianca>
#SBATCH -p node
#SBATCH -C gpu   #NB: Only for Bianca
#SBATCH --job-name=juliaGPU         # create a short name for your job 
#SBATCH --gpus-per-node=<1 OR 2>             # number of gpus per node (Bianca 2, Snowy 1)
#SBATCH --time=00:15:00          # total run time limit (HH:MM:SS)
#SBATCH --qos=short              # if test run t<15 min
#SBATCH --mail-type=begin        # send email when job begins
#SBATCH --mail-type=end          # send email when job ends
#SBATCH --mail-user=<email>
module purge
module load julia/1.8.5          # system CUDA works as of today
julia juliaCUDA.jl
Put job in queue:
$ sbatch juliaGPU.slurm

Interactive session with GPU

On Snowy, getting 1 cpu and 1 gpu:

$ interactive -A <proj> -n 1 -M snowy --gres=gpu:1  -t 3:00:00

On Bianca, getting 2 cpu:s and 1 gpu:

$ interactive -A <proj> -n 2 -C gpu --gres=gpu:1 -t 01:10:00 

        julia/1.8.5 (Default)
Last modified: 2023-09-05