Containers are stand-alone packages holding the the software needed to create a very specific computing environment.
Do I need a container?
If you need a very specialized computing environment, you can create a container as your work space on Bridges. Currently, Singularity is the only type of container supported on Bridges. Docker is not supported.
However, in most cases, Bridges has all the software you will need. Before creating a container for your work, check the extensive list of software that has been installed on Bridges. While logged in to Bridges, you can also get a list of installed packages by typing
If you need a package that is not available on Bridges, you can request that it be installed by emailing email@example.com. You can also install software packages in your own file spaces and, in some cases, we can provide assistance if you encounter difficulties.
How would I use a container on Bridges?
Singularity is the only container software supported on Bridges. You can create a Singularity container, copy it to Bridges and then execute your container on Bridges, where it can use Bridges's compute nodes and filesystems. In your container you can use any software required by your application: a different version of CentOS, a different Unix operating system, any software in any specific version needed. You can set up your Singularity container without any intervention from PSC staff.
A Singularity container is a single file. Thus, it can easily be copied to Bridges and also to other systems so you can insure that you are running a reproducible environment no matter where or when you compute.
See the PSC documentation on Singularity for more details on its usage on Bridges.