This package provides a simple way to sync a local development environment to a cluster of workers using the distributed functionalities in julia.

The main functionality is exported through the macro @initcluster which takes a list of machines accessible through ssh using keys (see addprocs in Distributed.jl for more information). It looks at the active environment and takes packages with local paths associated to them, i.e. dev packages, as well as the Project.toml and Manifest.toml and copies them to the corresponding locations on the added machines.

Each machine then have workers equal to the number of the available threads added, and the environment is activated for each of them.

It also export the @everywhere macro from Distributed.jl as well as a @eachmachine macro that is similar to @everywhere but runs the command only once for each machine which can be useful for things that the workers on one machine can share such as precompilation or downloading datasets.


julia> ] add DistributedEnvironments


Make sure the current active environment is the one that should be copied.

using DistributedEnvironments

machines = ["", "otherserver"]
@initcluster machines                           # Copies environment and sets up workers on all machines

@everywhere using DelimitedFiles                # Want this loaded on all machines
@eachmachine download("somepage.com/somedata.csv")  # If each worker wants same data we only need to download once per machine
@everywhere data = readdlm("somedata.csv", ',') # Want to read the data everywhere


One could for example run hyperparameter optimization using the @phyperopt macro from Hypteropt.jl

using DistributedEnvironments

machines = ["", "otherserver"]
@initcluster machines 

@everywhere using Hyperopt, Flux, MLDatasets, Statistics
@eachmachine MNIST.download(i_accept_the_terms_of_use=true)

ho = @phyperopt for i=30, fun = [tanh, σ, relu], units = [16, 64, 256], hidden = 1:5, epochs = 1:7
    # Read data (already downloaded)
    train_x, train_y = MNIST.traindata()
    test_x,  test_y  = MNIST.testdata()
    # Create model based on optimization parameters
    model = Chain([
        Dense(784, units, fun);
        [Dense(units, units, fun) for _ in 1:hidden];
        Dense(units, 10); 
    loss(data) = Flux.Losses.mse(model(data.x), data.y)
    # Train
    Flux.@epochs epochs Flux.train!(
        Flux.DataLoader((x=train_x, y=Flux.onehotbatch(train_y, 0:9)), batchsize=16, shuffle=true), 
    # Return test score
    mean(Flux.onecold(model(test_x), 0:9) .== test_y)


Currently it is a very simple implementation making some not perfect assumptions.

  • Same directory structure needed on all nodes for now
    • Allow for supplying a project folder which all dev packages and env files are added to. Modify Manifest to update paths. Could be problematic with nested packages?
  • Do something with depot path?
  • rsync exists on host and workers (allow for choise between scp/rsync other?)
  • rsync with multicast?
  • Allow to set addprocs keywords, such as julia executable, env vars...?
  • Check for julia, otherwise suggest installation?
  • Check if we can create a SSHManager object and keep that alive to have acces to individual machines, would allow for either running @everywhere or something like @allmachines to only run once on each machine (downloading dataset, precompiling)
  • Should it rather reexport Distributed since it will likely never be used without it?
  • So far no testing, but not really sure how to do that in a good way since the only functionality needs ssh and other machines...


Mattias Fält and Johan Ruuskanen created a script for doing distributed environment syncing at the Dept. of Automatic Control in Lund which was used as the base for this package.