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How to run Guppy on ScienceCluster

S3IT is unable to offer system-wide Guppy installation on ScienceCluster because ONT provides it under severely restrictive terms and conditions. However, you might be able to run Guppy on the cluster as a customer of ONT if you accept their terms and conditions. We strongly recommend that you read the Terms & Conditions to ensure that your use of the software would not violate them.

How-to guide

To run Guppy on the cluster, you would need to build a Singularity container.

Install Singularity

If you are running Linux, you can install Singularity and build it locally on your computer. While it is possible to run Singularity under MacOS or Windows, the process might be rather cumbersome and it would probably be easier to create a ScienceCloud instance instead. The following process assumes that you are using Ubuntu and may need to be adjusted for other Linux flavours.

If you are familiar with Conda, you can use it to install a recent version of singularity. Otherwise, you can install Singularity by following the instructions that can be found in the Singularity Admin Guide.

Prepare definition file

Singularity images are typically built from a definition file that describes various container properties and indicates what software to install.

Create a directory for building the image

mkdir build && cd build

Copy the following template of the definition file into guppy.def

Bootstrap: library
# As of 2020-05-20 guppy requires ubuntu16
From: ubuntu:16.04

This is a container that runs guppy.


export LANG LC_ALL

# Exits with 255 (!?!)
# guppy_aligner --version
guppy_aligner -h
# Exits with 255 (!?!)
# guppy_barcoder --version
guppy_barcoder -h
guppy_basecaller --version
guppy_basecaller -h

export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive

# update system and install prerequisites
apt-get -qq update && apt-get -qq install -y --no-install-recommends gnupg \
    lsb-release \
    curl \
    wget \
    apt-transport-https \
    zlib1g-dev \
    tar \
    bzip2 \
    gzip \
    xz-utils \
    unzip \
    ca-certificates \

# Place Guppy installation commands below

# cleanup
rm -rf /tmp/downloaded\_packages/ && \
rm -rf /tmp/*.rds && \
rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*

Get Guppy protocol

Find Guppy protocol on the ONT website (login required), go to the Linux section of the protocol and find the subsection that describes the installation from a .deb file. Paste those commands into the definition file below the line that says # Place Guppy installation commands below. Currently, there are two blocks in the instructions. The first block add the repository, the second block installs the package. Please make sure that the second block is for the GPU version of Guppy.

Adjust the installation commands.


If you do not make these changes, the image may fail to build or you will not be able to run it on the cluster.

  1. Remove the first two commands from the first command block, i.e. apt-get update and apt-get install. They are already included in the template.
  2. Remove sudo from all commands. There are multiple instances of sudo on some lines. All of them should be removed.
  3. Find the Guppy install command and add  --no-install-recommends -y flags after the word install. This will prevent the installation of the NVIDIA driver, which is already installed on the cluster.

Build the image

singularity build guppy-3.6.1.sif guppy.def

Transfer the image to the cluster

The command below will save it to your data directory. Please feel free to change the target directory to something else. Note, however, that the image is large and it would be better not to store it in your home directory.

scp -p guppy-3.6.1.sif <shortname>

Expand the image

The image needs to be expanded to prevent automatic expansion in the future. From this point on, all operations are performed on the cluster. It might be good to create a separate directory to store your containers.

# Log out of the ScienceCloud instance you used to build the image and log into ScienceCluster
cd ~/data
mkdir containers
module load singularity
singularity build --sandbox containers/guppy-3.6.1 guppy-3.6.1.sif

Test the expanded image

srun --time=0:5:0 --gres=gpu:1 --pty /bin/bash
singularity exec -u --nv $HOME/data/guppy-3.6.1 guppy_basecaller --version

Remove the .sif file

rm guppy-3.6.1.sif

Loading the Singularity module

When submitting a job, you would always need to load the Singularity module. Then you can run Guppy commands as in the test command above. You can specify multiple Guppy commands in the same batch file but you have to use 'singularity exec' with each one. For example, you script may look as follows.

#!/usr/bin/env bash
#SBATCH --time=10:00:00 --gres=gpu:1
module load singularity

singularity exec -u --nv $HOME/data/guppy-3.6.1 guppy_barcoder ...

singularity exec -u --nv $HOME/data/guppy-3.6.1 guppy_basecaller ...

Last update: March 17, 2023