Using cloudknot to run pyAFQ on AWS batch:#

One of the purposes of pyAFQ is to analyze large-scale openly-available datasets, such as those in the Human Connectome Project.

To analyze these datasets, large amounts of compute are needed. One way to gain access to massive computational power is by using cloud computing. Here, we will demonstrate how to use pyAFQ in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

We will rely on the AWS Batch Service , and we will submit work into AWS Batch using software that our group developed called Cloudknot.

Import cloudknot and set the AWS region within which computations will take place. Setting a region is important, because if the data that you are analyzing is stored in AWS S3 in a particular region, it is best to run the computation in that region as well. That is because AWS charges for inter-region transfer of data.

import cloudknot as ck

Define the function to use#

Cloudknot uses the single program multiple data paradigm of computing. This means that the same function will be run on multiple different inputs. For example, a pyAFQ processing function run on multiple different subjects in a dataset. Below, we define the function that we will use. Notice that Cloudknot functions include the import statements of the dependencies used. This is necessary so that Cloudknot knows what dependencies to install into AWS Batch to run this function.

def afq_process_subject(subject):
    # define a function that each job will run
    # In this case, each process does a single subject
    import s3fs
    # all imports must be at the top of the function
    # cloudknot installs the appropriate packages from pip
    import as afs
    from import GroupAFQ
    import AFQ.definitions.image as afm

    # Download the given subject to your local machine from s3
    # Can find subjects more easily if they are specified in a
    # BIDS participants.tsv file, even if it is sparse
    study_ixi = afs.S3BIDSStudy(

    # you can optionally provide your own segmentation file
    # in this case, we look for a file with suffix 'seg'
    # in the 'pipeline_name' pipeline,
    # and we consider all non-zero labels to be a part of the brain
    brain_mask_definition = afm.LabelledImageFile(
        suffix='seg', filters={'scope': 'pipeline_name'},

    # define the api AFQ object
    myafq = GroupAFQ(
        viz_backend_spec='plotly',  # this will generate both interactive html and GIFs # noqa
        scalars=["dki_fa", "dki_md"])

    # export_all runs the entire pipeline and creates many useful derivates

    # upload the results to some location on s3

Here we provide a list of subjects that we have selected to process to randomly select 3 subjects without replacement, instead do: subjects = [[1], [2], [3]] see the docstring for S3BIDSStudy.__init__ for more information

subjects = ["123456", "123457", "123458"]

Defining a Knot instance#

We instantiate a class instance of the ck.Knot class. This object will be used to run your jobs. The object is instantiated with the ‘AmazonS3FullAccess’ policy, so that it can write the results out to S3, into a bucket that you have write permissions on. Setting the bid_percentage key-word makes AWS Batch use spot EC2 instances for the computation. This can result in substantial cost-savings, as spot compute instances can cost much less than on-demand instances. However, not that spot instances can also be evicted, so if completing all of the work is very time-sensitive, do not set this key-word argument. Using the image_github_installs key-word argument will install pyAFQ from GitHub. You can also specify other forks and branches to install from.

knot = ck.Knot(

Launching the computation#

The map() method of the :class:`Knot object maps each of the inputs provided as a sequence onto the function and executes the function on each one of them in parallel.

result_futures =

Once computations have started, you can call the following function to view the progress of jobs:


You can also view the status of a specific job:[0].status

When all jobs are finished, remember to use the clobber() method to destroy all of the AWS resources created by the Knot

knot.clobber(clobber_pars=True, clobber_repo=True, clobber_image=True)

In a second Knot object, we use a function that takes the resulting profiles of each subject and combines them into one csv file.

def afq_combine_profiles(dummy_argument):
    from AFQ.api import download_and_combine_afq_profiles
        "my_study_bucket", "my_study_prefix")

knot2 = ck.Knot(

This knot is called with a dummy argument, which is not used within the function itself. The job_type key-word argument is used to signal to Cloudknot that only one job is submitted rather than the default array of jobs.

result_futures2 =["dummy_argument"], job_type="independent")
knot2.clobber(clobber_pars=True, clobber_repo=True, clobber_image=True)

Total running time of the script: ( 0 minutes 0.000 seconds)

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