• Dynamic modification of a user’s environment via modulefiles.
  • Each modulefile contains the information needed to use the specific library/compiler/… by altering or setting shell environment variables such as PATH, MANPATH, etc.
  • Different versions of applications.
  • Metamodules can be used to load an entire suite of different applications.

Users modules

  • All users can install modules, one only needs to be added to the Unix group plafrim-dev} (ticket to plafrim-support AT …
  • … and install modules in /cm/shared/dev/modules
  • But there is some rules to follow …


  • For modules which can run on all nodes, the directory generic should be used, with the sub-directories apps and modulesfiles.
  • For modules aimed to specific architectures, the following directories should be used
    • intel/haswell for the nodes miriel and sirocco[01-05]
    • intel/broadwell for the nodes sirocco[07-13]
    • intel/skylake for the nodes bora
    • intel/knightslanding for the nodes kona
  • When connecting to a node via salloc, the environment variable MODULEPATH contains the directory generic and the node-specific directory manufacturer/chip


In order to increase and to ease the use of the modules on the platform, modules are grouped within categories. Each module belongs to a specific category, which can be for example trace or statistics.

  • The module naming policy is as follows: <category>/<module>/<option>/<version>
  • the number of options being between 0 and as many as you want.
    • partitioning/scotch/int32/6.0.4
    • partitioning/scotch/int64/6.0.4

File System

  • Modules files go in /cm/shared/dev/modules/XXX/modulefiles by following the architecture and the naming policies.
  • For example, let’s install a generic module fxt in the category trace with version 0.3.9 and without any specific option
  • The directory in which to store the install files is
  • Installation module files go in
    /cm/shared/dev/modules/XXX/apps with the same architecture and naming policies.
  • Make sure all the files can be read by anyone on the platform.
  • Write a real description in whatis, the command
    module show/whatis xxx should say something more meaningful than
    loads the xxx environment

How to create a module

  • Let’s assume we install a generic module
  • Install your software in the appropriate sub-directory in /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps
  • For example in the directory /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/tools/boost/1.71.0/
  • The module file is /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/modulefiles/tools/boost/1.71.0 and it can be as follows
proc ModulesHelp { } {
  puts stderr "\tAdds boost 1.71.0 to your environment variables,"

module-whatis "adds boost 1.71.0 debug tool to your environment variables"

set             version         1.71.0
set             prefix          /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/tools/boost/
set             root            $prefix/$version


#path added in the beginning
prepend-path   CPATH  $root/include
prepend-path   LIBRARY_PATH  $root/lib
prepend-path   LD_LIBRARY_PATH  $root/lib
setenv   BOOST_ROOT  $root
  • Set the correct permissions
$ module load tools/module_cat
$ module_perm /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/tools/boost/1.71.0/
$ module_perm /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/modulefiles/tools/boost/1.71.0
  • If your module depends on other modules such as /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/modulefiles/perftools/simgrid/3.24
    • Specify the dependencies
prereq compiler/gcc
prereq tools/boost/1.71.0
  • and use their informations
set prefix  /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/perftools/simgrid/$version/install/gcc_$env(GCC_VER)
  • To avoid loading 2 versions of the same module
conflict runtime/starpu
  • When a module depends on the versions of other modules
set prefix /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/perftools/simgrid/$version/install/gcc_$env(GCC_VER)
if {![file exists $prefix]} {
    puts stderr "\t[module-info name] Load Error: $prefix does not exist"
    exit 1

What are the useful variables?

Path to development headers (for compiling)


Path to libraries (for linking)


Path to tools and libraries (for running)

  • PATH

pkg-config to simplifying build systems (point to directories with .pc files)

prepend-path PKG_CONFIG_PATH $prefix/lib/pkgconfig


append-path  MANPATH   $man_path
append-path  MANPATH   $man_path/man1
append-path  MANPATH   $man_path/man3
append-path  MANPATH   $man_path/man7

Some modules define specific variables, likely because one random project ever decided to use that

setenv            CUDA_INSTALL_PATH   $root
setenv            CUDA_PATH           $root
setenv            CUDA_SDK            $root
prepend-path      CUDA_INC_PATH       $root/include

setenv          HWLOC_HOME          $prefix

setenv         MPI_HOME          $prefix
setenv         MPI_RUN           $prefix/bin/mpirun
setenv         MPI_NAME          $name
setenv         MPI_VER           $version

Which version gets selected by default during load?

  • The default is in (reverse) alphabetical order
$ module av formal/sage
   --- /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/modulefiles ---
    formal/sage/7.0 formal/sage/8.9 formal/sage/9.0
$ module av 2>&1 | grep sage
$ module load formal/sage
$ module list
    Currently Loaded Modulefiles:
      1) formal/sage/9.0
  • Another default version may be enforced. Useful if your last beta release isn’t stable or backward compatible but still needed for some hardcode users.
$ cat /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/modulefiles/hardware/hwloc/.version
set ModulesVersion "2.1.0"

More on environment dependent modules

$ module_grep starpu

StarPU has different module files which differ in the prereq commands and the prefix setting.

> prereq compiler/cuda/10.1
> prereq trace/fxt/0.3.9
< set     prefix          /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/runtime/starpu/1.3.3/gcc@9.2.0-hwloc@2.1.0-openmpi@4.0.2
> set     prefix          /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/runtime/starpu/1.3.3/gcc@8.2.0-hwloc@2.1.0-openmpi@4.0.1-cuda@10.1
> set     prefix          /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/runtime/starpu/1.3.3/gcc@8.2.0-hwloc@2.1.0-openmpi@4.0.1-cuda@10.1-fxt@0.3.9

Create a module file with all the cases

if {![ is-loaded compiler/gcc ]} {
   module load compiler/gcc
if {![ is-loaded hardware/hwloc ]} {
   module load hardware/hwloc/2.1.0

conflict runtime/starpu

set cuda ""
set fxt ""
if {[ is-loaded compiler/cuda/10.1 ]} {
  set cuda -cuda@10.1
if {[ is-loaded trace/fxt/0.3.9 ]} {
  set fxt -fxt@0.3.9

# for Tcl script use only
set     name            starpu
set     version         1.3.3

set     prefix          /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/runtime/$name/$version/gcc@$env(GCC_VER)-hwloc@2.1.0-openmpi@4.0.1${cuda}${fxt}

Different environments lead to a different version of StarPU to be used:

1st case

$ module purge
$ module load runtime/starpu/42
$ module list
Currently Loaded Modulefiles:
1) compiler/gcc/9.2.0     2) hardware/hwloc/2.1.0   3) runtime/starpu/42
$ module show runtime/starpu/42
setenv		 STARPU_DIR /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/runtime/starpu/1.3.3/gcc@9.2.0-hwloc@2.1.0-openmpi@4.0.1 

2nd case

 $ module purge && module load compiler/gcc/8.2.0 compiler/cuda/10.1 runtime/starpu/42
$ module show runtime/starpu/42
setenv		 STARPU_DIR /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/runtime/starpu/1.3.3/gcc@8.2.0-hwloc@2.1.0-openmpi@4.0.1-cuda@10.1 

3rd case

$ module purge && module load compiler/gcc/8.2.0 compiler/cuda/10.1 trace/fxt runtime/starpu/42
$ module show runtime/starpu/42
setenv		 STARPU_DIR /cm/shared/dev/modules/generic/apps/runtime/starpu/1.3.3/gcc@8.2.0-hwloc@2.1.0-openmpi@4.0.1-cuda@10.1-fxt@0.3.9

More module commands

Module tools/module_cat

The module tools/module_cat provides the following tools

  • module_list to list the existing categories
  • module_add, module_init, module_add, module_rm to modify the environment variable MODULEPATH which defines the folders in which to look for modules
  • module_perm to set the correct permissions on a given directory
  • module_search to search all modules whose name have the given string, e.g module_search hwloc

To add a new category, send a email to the plafrim-users mailing-list.