Background Priority

 Some time ago I posted a question to the list about executing
 jobs in the background on SGI and IBM workstations.  I was
 interested in execution priorities that would allow a job to
 soak-up unused machine cycles without interfering with foreground
 or higher priority jobs.  The 'nice' command doesn't have enough
 Thanks to everyone who responded.  We haven't made much progress with
 with IBM AIX.  Here is a summary of the responses:
 -  Use 'npri' on the SGI workstations.
    eg. npri -h 150 <command>
    This works pretty well, but I haven't found an equivalent
    command for IBM AIX.
 -  Use NQS (Network Queuing System) to distribute load and
    the 'qdel -s' option to stop jobs during the day.
    This is not quite what we're looking for, since interactive
    and priority foreground use continue at all hours.
 -  IBM RS/6000s do not timeshare well.
    This is true.  We usually run two jobs max.  However, a 'sponge'
    priority for deep background execution isn't really timesharing.
 -  Try 'Batch 4.0' for SGI which is available from Scott Presnell.
    Contact him at srp : at :
    Free for academics and gov. but need license.
    Docs and man pages available  (FTP
    We haven't tried this yet, but it does have provisions for
    giving high priority to active console users.  Looks interesting.
 -  Try the commercial package 'nanny' from Terry Coley
    (terry : at :  This is an automatic priority
    controller that can give priority to active console users and
    can also balance the percentage of cycles given to each user.
    A free trial version is available at
    We are evaluating this one.  No conclusions so far.
 Dr. Walter J. Stevens
 Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology
 National Institute of Standards and Technology
 and University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
 9600 Gudelsky Drive
 Rockville, MD  20850
 Phone:  (301) 738-6264
 FAX  :  (301) 738-6255
 E-MAIL: walt : at :