Installing ACME

For Users

ACME can be installed using pip or conda:

conda install -c conda-forge esi-acme

ACME is the parallelization engine of Syncopy. If you’re working on the ESI HPC cluster installing ACME and/or SyNCoPy is only necessary if you create your own conda environment. On the ESI cluster, all current pre-configured reference environments (ESI-202xa/b) provide the respective most recent ACME version. These environments can be easily started using the ESI JupyterHub

For Developers

To install the latest development version of ACME in a fresh conda environment (called acme by default), please follow these steps:

git clone https://github.com/esi-neuroscience/acme.git
cd acme/
conda env create -f acme.yml
pip install -e .

(note the dot “.” at the end of the pip install command). More details are provided in Contributing to ACME.

Using ACME

In contrast to many Python packages, ACME is built around a single key element, the ParallelMap context manager. Thus, for most use-cases importing ParallelMap is likely sufficient to start ACME parallelization:

from acme import ParallelMap

def f(x, y, z=3):
    return (x + y) * z

with ParallelMap(f, [2, 4, 6, 8], 4) as pmap:

For more fine-grained control over resource allocation and load-balancer options, ACME offers “cluster setup” convenience functions to launch a custom-tailored “client” of parallel workers (corresponding to CPU cores if run on a single machine, i.e., laptop or workstation, or compute jobs if run on a cluster computing manager such as SLURM). These helper functions are mere wrappers around distributed.LocalCluster and dask_jobqueue.SLURMCluster which perform the actual heavy lifting. Thus, instead of letting ACME automatically allocate a worker swarm, more fine-grained control over resource allocation and management can be achieved by running slurm_cluster_setup() (on an HPC cluster managed by the SLURM Workload Manager) or local_cluster_setup() (on local multi-processing hardware) before launching the actual calculation. For example,

from acme import slurm_cluster_setup

slurmClient = slurm_cluster_setup(partition="some_partition",

starts 10 concurrent SLURM workers each provisioned with two CPU cores and 2 GB of RAM in a queue named “some_partition”. Any subsequent invocation of ParallelMap will automatically pick up slurmClient and distribute any occurring computational payload across the workers collected in slurmClient.

On the ESI HPC cluster the routine esi_cluster_setup() provides some sane defaults tailored to the specifics of the SLURM layout of the cluster. For instance,

esiClient = esi_cluster_setup(partition="16GBXL", n_workers=10)

starts 10 concurrent SLURM workers in the 16GBXL queue (no need to further specify CPU core count or memory requirements).


Since ACME internally relies on distributed and dask_jobqueue it can leverage any HPC infrastructure (CPU nodes, GPU nodes etc.) managed by SLURM, PBS, SGE, Moab etc. For users of the ESI HPC cluster ACME offers the above presented convenience function esi_cluster_setup(), however, the underlying general purpose setup routine acme.slurm_cluster_setup() (which is invoked by esi_cluster_setup()) can be used to start a parallel worker cluster on any distributed system controlled by SLURM. If you are interested in having a *_cluster_setup routine for your institution’s HPC infrastructure being included in ACME, please open an issue in our GitHub Issue Tracker.

More Information

Details about optional arguments of ParallelMap are summarized in its constructor __init__() method. Additional usage examples and tutorials are provided in the User Walkthrough.