Question: Blast job never stops
gravatar for langziv
9 weeks ago by
langziv0 wrote:


Yesterday I started running a job with a script for blast. An output file was created. now, almost 24 hours later, the file is still empty, no other files were created, and the job keeps running. I think it won't stop unless I'll stop it. I was told that it might be due to a contig that's too long.

Maybe it's important to note that initially I couldn't keep the job running, since it kept failing due to memory limit exceeding. To overcome this I set a higher limit of 100gb. That's the highest I ever had to set.

The script:

#PBS -q ...
#PBS -N ...
#PBS -e ...
#PBS -o ...
#PBS -l nodes=1:ppn=20,mem=100gb

module load blast/blast-2.10.0
cd /some/path/

blastx -query A1/scaffold.fa \
-db /root/BLAST/Proteins2/nr \
-max_hsps 1 -max_target_seqs 1 -num_threads 20 \
-out just_trying.txt \
-outfmt "6 std staxids qseqid sseqid staxids sscinames scomnames stitle"

Does anyone have an idea what to do?

linux blast • 132 views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 9 weeks ago by Mensur Dlakic8.4k • written 9 weeks ago by langziv0

not directly related to your issue but a few points to be aware of:

  • be caution (or at least know very well what it implies) with using parameters as -max_hsps 1 and/or -max_target_seqs 1 , they can cause 'unexpected' results (google for it for details)

  • Also: using up to 20 threads will likely not give much speed increase, blast is only for a small part parallelised and with 20 you for sure are on the plateau of speed increase (it has been said that anything above 4-5 threads is likely not adding much)

ADD REPLYlink written 9 weeks ago by lieven.sterck9.5k

Give us more info or flip a coin.

ADD REPLYlink written 9 weeks ago by Jean-Karim Heriche24k

I added the job's script.

ADD REPLYlink written 9 weeks ago by langziv0

Log onto the cluster node your job has been allocated and check what's happening there (e.g. with top).

ADD REPLYlink written 9 weeks ago by Jean-Karim Heriche24k
gravatar for Mensur Dlakic
9 weeks ago by
Mensur Dlakic8.4k
Mensur Dlakic8.4k wrote:

I already answered this question in the other thread you started.

Files are written in chunks that correspond to sector sizes. BLAST will not have written enough output to go over a sector size until it completes a search with at least one sequence, as hits for each sequence are written at the end. As long as the search is still ongoing with the very first query sequences (assuming you have more than one), it is possible that there will be no output in that file.

There could be multiple explanations: your computer is slow (either objectively, or because it is shared with many other people); 100 Gb is still not enough so there is lots of disk swapping, which makes everything slow; you have a long query sequence that takes a while to search; all of the above.

I suggest you take a shorter query sequence and a smaller database, and run a test to make sure that everything works. Assuming it does, you may need more than 100Gb of memory assigned, a smaller database, or a faster computer. If all of that fails, you will need more patience.

ADD COMMENTlink written 9 weeks ago by Mensur Dlakic8.4k
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