Workflow tools

Supporting data-centric science often involves the movement of data across file systems, multi-stage analytics and visualization. Workflow technologies can improve the productivity and efficiency of data-centric science by orchestrating and automating these steps. NERSC provides support for the TaskFarmer, Swift and Fireworks tools. We also maintain other packages like Tigres that can help users build workflows.


TaskFarmer is a utility developed at NERSC to distribute single-node tasks across a set of compute nodes - these can be single- or multi-core tasks. TaskFarmer tracks which tasks have completed successfully, and allows straightforward re-submission of failed or un-run jobs from a checkpoint file.


The Swift scripting language provides a simple, compact way to write parallel scripts that run many copies of ordinary programs concurrently in various workflow patterns, reducing the need for complex parallel programming or arcane scripting. Swift is very general, and is in use in domains ranging from earth systems to bioinformatics to molecular modeling.


FireWorks is a free, open-source code for defining, managing, and executing scientific workflows. It can be used to automate calculations over arbitrary computing resources, including those that have a queueing system. Some features that distinguish FireWorks are dynamic workflows, failure-detection routines, and built-in tools and execution modes for running high-throughput computations at large computing centers. It uses a centralized server model, where the server manages the workflows and workers run the jobs.

Other Workflow Tools

If you find that these tools don't meet your needs, you can check out some of the other workflow tools we currently support.