commander and viewer to tunnel commands for HPC

commander, viewer, hpc, cluster, computing, developer-tools, interactive, interactive-session, jupyter, notebook
pip install tunel==0.0.18



Developer tools for HPC. Because we can't have cloud but we want nice things too.


Tunel will do exactly that - create a tunel between your local workstation and an HPC cluster to try and abstract away some of the complexity of launching interfaces that feel a bit more modern. In its simplest form this means:

  1. Installing tunel locally and discovering what is available on your cluster
  2. Running a local server (or via the command line) selecting and configuring an application to run.
  3. Launching it via a ssh tunnel to your cluster resource
  4. Getting back an address to open up and start working.

See our ⭐️ documentation ⭐️ to get started.


Should there be an init/check command that sniffs what is available on a cluster? E.g., singularity, sbatch, sinfo, module load, etc. Create "tunel" command over

  • should be able to interact with whatever APIs available on the cluster (and detect what is there?)
  • tunel alone should open UI that feels like cloud

Developer Environments

Request a node, akin to cloud - come up with standard sizes (and can we sniff slurm conf for this too?) and then offer a UI to deploy!

Developer Workflows

In developing this tool, I decided to sit down and write exactly what I wanted, and then (hopefully) to see if there would be a way to implement it given the resources of the HPC clusters I have access to. The interesting observation is that in most of these cases, compute wasn't a huge issue, but rather:

  1. consistency in environments
  2. only having command line (and not a UI access)
  3. no ability to interact with APIs.

So this spawned the idea for tunel - could I, despite working in HPC, be able to provide APIs and interfaces regardless?


Launch interface for slurm and monitoring jobs (probably can attach to login node?)

Running Workflows

Ability to launch different workflow managers? E.g., snakemake? Does it make sense to have an organization of running apps akin to containers running to manage things? E.g., $SCRATCH/tunel/$CONTAINER?

More generally (notes from HPC Huddle Slack)

  • A workflow management system available on the system
  • Example:
  • The WfMS is readily available on many systems so I can easily run my work on different machines.

Writing Code

"I want to jump in and try stuff without friction. I just want to be able to start writing code and seeing what it does."

  • Select what I need in an environment and be in it
  • Comfortable interaction with logging in / browsing files / writing code
  • Easy / nice interface to launch and monitor jobs
  • (not totally necessary) CI integrated with development environment


  • A scripting language API for interacting programmatically with the scheduler
  • submit, query status, and remove jobs
  • query available resources
  • parser for job history & logs information
  • syntax and documentation that are not just for system administrators: PySlurm needs work in this regard

Modules / Containers

  • Containerized cluster
  • Enables new users to learn how to interact with a scheduler in a (safer) local environment
  • Test small workflows locally before porting to a big machine
  • Can be used for teaching ala Binder
  • HTCondor provides containers for both individual daemons and full systems
  • There are examples of PBS and Slurm (& maybe others) out there but none of these others seem project supported.