Remote IPython Kernel

The module provides a command-line recipe for starting a remote IPython kernel on a YARN container. The intended use is to execute the module in a service, using the command:

$ python -m

The executing Python environment must contain the following dependencies to work properly:

  • skein
  • ipykernel

After launching the service, the kernel connection information will be stored in the key-value store under the key ''. This key name is configurable with the command-line flag --kernel-info-key.


Here we provide a complete walkthrough of launching and connecting to a remote IPython kernel. This example assumes you’re logged into and running on an edge node.

Kinit (optional)

See Kinit (optional).

Start the Skein Driver (optional)

See Start the Skein Driver (optional).

Package the Python Environment

To distribute Python environments we’ll make use of conda-pack, a tool for packaging and distributing conda environments. As mentioned above, we need to make sure we have the following packages installed in the remote environment:

  • skein
  • ipykernel

we’ll also install numpy to have an example library for doing some computation, and jupyter_console to have a way to connect to the remote kernel (note that this is only needed on the client machine, but we’ll install it on both for simplicity).

# Create a new demo environment (output trimmed for brevity)
$ conda create -n ipython-demo

# Activate the environment
$ conda activate ipython-demo

# Install the needed packages (output trimmed for brevity)
$ conda install conda-pack skein ipykernel numpy jupyter_console -c conda-forge

# Package the environment into environment.tar.gz
$ conda pack -o environment.tar.gz
Collecting packages...
Packing environment at '/home/jcrist/miniconda/envs/ipython-demo' to 'environment.tar.gz'
[########################################] | 100% Completed | 35.3s

Write the Application Specification

Next we need to write the application specification. For more information see the specification docs.

# stored in ipython-demo.yaml

name: ipython-demo

      memory: 1 GiB
      vcores: 1
      # Distribute the bundled environment as part of the application.
      # This will be automatically extracted by YARN to the directory
      # ``environment`` during resource localization.
      environment: environment.tar.gz
    script: |
      # Activate our environment
      source environment/bin/activate
      # Start the remote ipython kernel
      python -m

Start the Remote IPython Kernel

Now we have everything needed to start the remote IPython kernel. The following bash command starts the application and stores the application id in the environment variable APPID.

$ APPID=`skein application submit ipython-demo.yaml`

Retrieve the Kernel Information

To connect to a remote kernel, Jupyter requires information usually stored in a kernel.json file. As mentioned above, the recipe provided in stores this information in the key ''. We can retrieve this information and store it in a file using the following bash command:

$ skein kv get $APPID --key --wait > kernel.json

Connect to the Remote IPython Kernel

Using jupyter console and the kernel.json file, we can connect to the remote kernel.

$ jupyter console --existing kernel.json
Jupyter console 5.2.0

Python 3.6.6 | packaged by conda-forge | (default, Jul 26 2018, 09:53:17)
Type 'copyright', 'credits' or 'license' for more information
IPython 6.5.0 -- An enhanced Interactive Python. Type '?' for help.

In [1]: import numpy as np  # can import distributed libraries

In [2]: np.sum([1, 2, 3])
Out[2]: 6

In [3]: # ls shows the files on the remote container, not the local files

In [4]: ls
container_tokens                        environment@***          tmp/

In [5]: # exit shuts down the application

In [6]: exit
Shutting down kernel

Confirm that the Application Completed

We can check that application shutdown properly using skein application status

$ skein application status $APPID
APPLICATION_ID                    NAME            STATE       STATUS       CONTAINERS    VCORES    MEMORY    RUNTIME
application_1533143063639_0017    ipython-demo    FINISHED    SUCCEEDED    0             0         0         2m