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Shipping containers have frequently been used as an analogy for computing containers because the container is generic, it does not care what is put inside, and it will be carried on any ship, or in the case of computing containers can run on many systems unlike the one it was created on.  Hence the log for Docker, the most common container platform.

Docker is widely used by researchers for reasons we won't get into here.  See their documentation

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Table of Contents

Singularity Overview


Singularity containers let users run applications in a Linux environment of their choosing.  This is similar to but not the same as Docker.   

The most important thing to know is that you create the singularity container called an image on a workstation where you have root privileges, and then transfer the image to HPC where you can execute the image. If root authority is an issue then the answer might be a virtual environment on your laptop, like Vagrant for MacOS

For an overview and more detailed information refer to:
http://singularity.lbl.gov

Here are some of the use cases we support using Singularity:

  • You already use Docker and want to run your jobs on HPC
  • You want to preserve your environment so that a system change will not affect your work
  • You need newer or different libraries than are offered on HPC systems
  • Someone else developed the workflow using a different version of linux
  • You prefer to use something other than Red Hat / CentOS, like Ubuntu 

Singularity Commands

Overview of Singularity commands and options
$ singularity --help
USAGE: singularity [global options...] <command> [command options...] ...

GLOBAL OPTIONS:
    -d|--debug    Print debugging information
    -h|--help     Display usage summary
    -s|--silent   Only print errors
    -q|--quiet    Suppress all normal output
       --version  Show application version
    -v|--verbose  Increase verbosity +1
    -x|--sh-debug Print shell wrapper debugging information

GENERAL COMMANDS:
    help       Show additional help for a command or container                  
    selftest   Run some self tests for singularity install                      

CONTAINER USAGE COMMANDS:
    exec       Execute a command within container                               
    run        Launch a runscript within container                              
    shell      Run a Bourne shell within container                              
    test       Launch a testscript within container                             

CONTAINER MANAGEMENT COMMANDS:
    apps       List available apps within a container                           
    bootstrap  *Deprecated* use build instead                                   
    build      Build a new Singularity container                                
    check      Perform container lint checks                                    
    inspect    Display a container's metadata                                   
    mount      Mount a Singularity container image                              
    pull       Pull a Singularity/Docker container to $PWD                      

COMMAND GROUPS:
    image      Container image command group                                    
    instance   Persistent instance command group                                


CONTAINER USAGE OPTIONS:
    see singularity help <command>

For any additional help or support visit the Singularity
website: http://singularity.lbl.gov/


Singularity Tutorials

There are some tutorials located here


Singularity Python and Machine Learning

More tutorials