Create and Submit an Experiment#

You run training code by submitting your code to a cluster and running it as an experiment.

To run an experiment, you provide a launcher and specify the launcher in the experiment configuration endpoint field. Launcher options are:

For distributed training, it is good practice to separate the launcher that starts a number of distributed workers from your training script, which typically runs each worker. The distributed training launcher must implement the following logic:

  • Launch all of the workers you want, passing any required peer info, such as rank or chief ip address, to each worker.

  • Monitor workers. If a worker exits with non-zero, the launcher should terminate the remaining workers and exit with non-zero.

  • Exit zero after all workers exit zero.

These requirements ensure that distributed training jobs do not hang after a single worker failure.

Configuring a Launcher#

The entry point of a model is configured in the Experiment Configuration file and specifies the path of the model and how it should be launched. Predefined launchers are provided in the determined.launch module and custom scripts are also supported.

The launcher is configurable in the experiment configuration entrypoint field. The entrypoint trial object or script launches the training code.

entrypoint: python3 -m (LAUNCHER) (TRIAL_DEFINITION)

or a custom script:

entrypoint: python3 arg1 arg2

Preconfigured launcher entrypoint arguments can differ but have the same format:

python3 -m (LAUNCH_MODULE) (--trial TRIAL)|(SCRIPT...)

where (LAUNCH_MODULE) is a Determined launcher and (--trial TRIAL)|(SCRIPT...) refers to the training script, which can be in a simplified format that the Determined launcher recognizes or a custom script.

You can write a custom launcher, in which case the launcher should wrap each rank worker in the python3 -m determined.launch.wrap_rank $RANK CMD [ARGS...] script, so the final logs can be separated according to rank in the WebUI.

Training Code Definition#

To launch a model or training script, either pass a trial class path to –trial or run a custom script that runs the training code. Only one of these can be used at the same time.

Trial Class#

--trial TRIAL

To specify a trial class to be trained, the launcher accepts a TRIAL argument in the following format:


where filepath is the location of your training class file, and ClassName is the name of the Python training class

Custom Script#

A custom script can be launched under a supported launcher instead of a trial class definition, with arguments passed as expected.

Example Python script command: [args...]

Horovod Launcher#


determined.launch.horovod [[HVD_OVERRIDES...] --] (--trial TRIAL)|(SCRIPT...)

The horovod launcher is a wrapper around horovodrun which automatically configures the workers for the trial. You can pass arguments directly to horovodrun, overriding Determined values, as HVD_OVERRIDES, which must end with a -- to separate the overrides from the normal arguments.


python3 -m determined.launch.horovod --fusion-threshold-mb 1 --cycle-time-ms 2 -- --trial model_def:MyTrial

PyTorch Distributed Launcher#


determined.launch.torch_distributed [[TORCH_OVERRIDES...] --] (--trial TRIAL)|(SCRIPT...)

This launcher is a Determined wrapper around PyTorch’s native distributed training launcher, Any arbitrary override arguments to are accepted, which overrides default values set by Determined. See the official PyTorch documentation for information about how to use The optional override arguments must end with a -- separator before the trial specification.


python3 -m determined.launch.torch_distributed --rdzv_endpoint=$CUSTOM_RDZV_ADDR -- --trial model_def:MyTrial

DeepSpeed Launcher#


determined.launch.deepspeed [[DEEPSPEED_ARGS...] --] (--trial TRIAL)|(SCRIPT...)

The DeepSpeed launcher launches a training script under deepspeed with automatic handling of:

  • IP addresses

  • sshd containers

  • shutdown

See the DeepSpeed Launching DeepSpeed Training documentation for information about how to use the DeepSpeed launcher.


python3 -m determined.launch.deepspeed --trial model_def:MyTrial

Use the help option to get the latest usage:

python3 -m determined.launch.deepspeed -h

Legacy Launcher#


entrypoint: model_def:TrialClass

The entry point field expects a predefined or custom script, but also supports legacy file and trial class definitions.

When you specify a trial class as the entry point, it must be a subclass of a Determined trial class.

Each trial class is designed to support one deep learning application framework. When training or validating models, the trial might need to load data from an external source so the training code needs to define data loaders.

A TrialClass is located in the model_def filepath and launched automatically. This is considered legacy behavior. By default, this configuration automatically detects distributed training, based on slot size and the number of machines, and launches with Horovod for distributed training. If used in a distributed training context, the entry point is:

python3 -m determined.launch.horovod --trial model_def:TrialClass

Nested Launchers#

The entry point supports nesting multiple launchers in a single script. This can be useful for tasks that need to be run before the training code starts, such as profiling tools (dlprof), custom memory management tools (numactl), or data preprocessing.


dlprof --mode=simple python3 -m determined.launch.autohorovod --trial model_def:MnistTrial

Creating an Experiment#

The CLI is the recommended way to create an experiment, although you can also use the WebUI to create from an existing experiment or trial. To create an experiment:

$ det experiment create <configuration file> <context directory>
  • The Experiment Configuration file is a YAML file that controls your experiment.

  • The context directory contains relevant training code, which is uploaded to the master.

The total size of the files in the context cannot exceed 95 MB. As a result, only very small datasets should be included. Instead, set up data loaders to read data from an external source. Refer to the Prepare Data section for more data loading options.

Because project directories can include large artifacts that should not be packaged as part of the model definition, including data sets or compiled binaries, users can specify a .detignore file at the top level, which lists the file paths to be omitted from the model definition. The .detignore file uses the same syntax as .gitignore. Byte-compiled Python files, including .pyc files and __pycache__ directories, are always ignored.

Pre-training Setup#

Trials are created to train the model. The Hyperparameter Tuning searcher specified in the experiment configuration file defines a set of hyperparameter configurations. Each hyperparameter configuration corresponds to a single trial.

After the context and experiment configuration reach the master, the experiment waits for the scheduler to assign slots. The master handles allocating necessary resources as defined in the cluster configuration.

When a trial is ready to run, the master communicates with the agent, or distributed training agents, which create(s) containers that have the configured environment and training code. A set of default container images applicable to many deep learning tasks is provided, but you can also specify a custom image. If the specified container images do not exist locally, the trial container fetches the images from the registry. See Organize Models in the Model Registry.


To learn more about distributed training with Determined, visit the conceptual overview or the intro to implementing distributed training.

After starting the containers, each trial runs the script in the context directory.

The pre-training activity can incur a delay before each trial begins training but typically only takes a few seconds.

Pause and Activate#

A trial can be paused and reactivated without losing training progress. Pausing a trial preserves its progress by saving a checkpoint before exiting the cluster.

The scheduler can pause a trial to free its resources for another task. Also, you can manually pause an experiment, which pauses all trials in the experiment. This frees the slots used by the trial. When the trial resumes, because more slots become available or because you activate an experiment, the saved checkpoint is loaded and training continues from the saved state.

Viewing the Job Queue#

The Determined Queue Management system extends scheduler functionality to offer better visibility and control over scheduling decisions. It does this using the Job Queue, which provides better information about job ordering, such as which jobs are queued, and permits dynamic job modification.

Queue Management is a new feature that is available to the fair share scheduler and the priority scheduler. Queue Management, described in detail in the following sections, shows all submitted jobs and their states, and lets you modify some configuration options, such as priority, position in the queue, and resource pool.

To begin managing job queues, go to the WebUI Job Queue section or use the det job set of CLI commands.

Queued jobs can be in the Queued or Scheduled state:

  • Queued: Job received but resources not allocated

  • Scheduled: Scheduled to run or running, and resources may have been allocated.

Completed or errored jobs are not counted as active and are omitted from this list.

You can view the job queue using the CLI or WebUI. In the WebUI, click the Job Queue tab. In the CLI, use one of the following commands:

$ det job list
$ det job ls

These commands show the default resource pool queue. To view other resource pool queues, use the --resource-pool option, specifying the pool:

$ det job list --resource-pool compute-pool

For more information about the CLI options, see the CLI documentation or use the det job list -h command.

The WebUI and the CLI display a table of results, ordered by scheduling order. The scheduling order does not represent the job priority. In addition to job order, the table includes the job states and number of slots allocated to each job.

Modifying the Job Queue#

The job queue can be changed in the WebUI Job Queue section or by using the CLI det job update command. You can make changes on a per-job basis by selecting a job and a job operation. Available operations include:

  • changing priorities for resource pools using the priority scheduler

  • changing weights for resource pools using the fair share scheduler

  • changing the order of queued jobs

  • changing resource pools

There are a number of constraints associated with using the job queue to modify jobs:

  • The priority and fair share fields are mutually exclusive. The priority field is only active for the priority scheduler and the fair share field is only active for the fair share scheduler. It is not possible for both to be active simultaneously.

  • The ahead-of, behind-of, and WebUI Move to Top operations are only available for the priority scheduler and are not possible with the fair share scheduler. These operations are not yet fully supported for the Kubernetes priority scheduler.

  • The change resource pool operation can only be performed on experiments. To change the resource pool of other tasks, cancel the task and resubmit it.

Modify the Job Queue using the WebUI#

To modify the job queue in the Webui,

  1. Go to the Job Queue section.

  2. Find the job to modify.

  3. Click the three dots in the right-most column of the job.

  4. Find and click the Manage Job option.

  5. Make the change you want on the pop-up page, and click OK.

Modify the Job Queue using the CLI#

To modify the job queue in the CLI, use the det job update command. Run det job update --help for more information. Example operations:

$ det job update jobID --priority 10
$ det job update jobID --resource-pool a100
$ det job update jobID --ahead-of jobID-2

To update a job in batch, provide updates as shown:

$ det job update-batch job1.priority=1 job2.resource-pool="compute" job3.ahead-of=job1

Example workflow:

$ det job list
   # | ID       | Type            | Job Name   | Priority | Submitted            | Slots (acquired/needed) | Status          | User
   0 | 0d714127 | TYPE_EXPERIMENT | first_job  |       42 | 2022-01-01 00:01:00  | 1/1                     | STATE_SCHEDULED | user1
   1 | 73853c5c | TYPE_EXPERIMENT | second_job |       42 | 2022-01-01 00:01:01  | 0/1                     | STATE_QUEUED    | user1

$ det job update 73853c5c --ahead-of 0d714127

$ det job list
   # | ID       | Type            | Job Name   | Priority | Submitted            | Slots (acquired/needed) | Status          | User
   0 | 73853c5c | TYPE_EXPERIMENT | second_job |       42 | 2022-01-01 00:01:01  | 1/1                     | STATE_SCHEDULED | user1
   1 | 0d714127 | TYPE_EXPERIMENT | first_job  |       42 | 2022-01-01 00:01:00  | 0/1                     | STATE_QUEUED    | user1

$ det job update-batch 73853c5c.priority=1 0d714127.priority=1

$ det job list
   # | ID       | Type            | Job Name   | Priority | Submitted            | Slots (acquired/needed) | Status          | User
   0 | 73853c5c | TYPE_EXPERIMENT | second_job |       1 | 2022-01-01 00:01:01  | 1/1                     | STATE_SCHEDULED | user1
   1 | 0d714127 | TYPE_EXPERIMENT | first_job  |       1 | 2022-01-01 00:01:00  | 0/1                     | STATE_QUEUED    | user1