[IPython-User] ipython notebook server experience

Skipper Seabold jsseabold@gmail....
Fri Jul 13 12:17:40 CDT 2012


On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:02 AM, Moritz Emanuel Beber <
moritz.beber@gmail.com> wrote:

>  Hello,
>
> just to chime in since I had a little classroom experience as well:
>
>
> On 07/11/2012 05:56 PM, Skipper Seabold wrote:
>
> On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM, Matthias BUSSONNIER <
> bussonniermatthias@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>
>>  Le 11 juil. 2012 à 16:08, Skipper Seabold a écrit :
>>
>>  Hi,
>>
>> I had my first experience using the IPython notebook server in a
>> classroom setting this week. The students mostly liked it, but I'm
>> afraid they were mostly Python novices and I may have learned more
>> than they did. In any case, I'm hooked and see many possibilities.
>> Great work.
>>
>>
>>  Thanks for your kind words and your feedback.
>>
>>  I'm curious about a couple of things. Is the same notebook intended to
>> be run by multiple users connected to the same server?
>>
>>
>>  We plan on having simultaneous user being able to edit the same
>> notebook at the same time,
>> probably with a per-cell lock.
>>
>>  Would it make sense to have an option for copy-on-open that could be
>> set in global
>> settings with the default to the current behavior?
>>
>>
>>  I don't really see the reason why, or not enough people will have the
>> use of it.
>> In the end we might allow to create a new notebook from an URL,
>> otherwise,
>> you just have to open a notebook and create a copy from the file menu.
>>
>>
> Well my thinking is that with this set to copy on open/write, when each
> user opens the notebook, it is no longer the same notebook. It is now
> theirs. IIUC, with the cell locks, you would have users editing the same
> file, just not overwriting each others changes?
>
>
>
> My solution was to create an account for each student, copy classroom
> material into their home directory, and start a password protected notebook
> server for each of them. All done automatically on linux with this script
> https://github.com/Midnighter/Notebooks-Launcher
>
>
Nice! Thanks for sharing. This looks promising for what I'm trying to
achieve in a classroom setting.


>
>     Relatedly and i don't know if this make sense, but is it possible to
>> have these copied
>> notebooks not show up in the directory ?
>>
>>  Ie., I have a set of examples
>> that can serve as templates, but no one is interested in seeing the
>> copies of others or new files created by others in the list.
>>
>>
>>  All this is related to multiuser capability, but in your case (and
>> generally with multi user), you wish to have
>> user isolated in their home. Which is not the case right now.
>>
>
> Right. I give the whole server a scratch environment with limited
> privileges.
>
>
>>  Trying to get around with invisible files and so on is IMHO the wrong
>> way to solve
>> a bigger problem of multi-user on the same *server*. If you really want
>> copy on write
>> notebooks, it might be doable later when we'll have the possibly of
>> choosing a backend to store
>> the notebooks (PR in Progress), but I doubt this particular backend will
>> be implemented by us.
>>
>   You might want to have a look at nbcloud[1], which run the IPython
>> notebook an amazon EC2.
>>
>   With this each of your student will have its own notebook instance in
>> its own Vm in the cloud.
>> You could provide a small first notebook that download more notebooks in
>> the current directory if needed.
>>
>>
> Thanks I've seen this, though it's not exactly what I have in mind. I'd
> prefer to maintain my own server. Devil's advocate here: It seems like to
> me, and maybe I'm just totally misunderstanding, but a notebook server that
> only serves well for one person is a bit of a misnomer. Why wouldn't I just
> provide different user accounts where people could SSH into the box with
> their own account and run the qt-console?
>
>
>>    I also saw fairly poor performance due to our server. I currently only
>> have two virtual processors allocated on this machine. I'm curious
>> what others have found to be satisfactory for notebook servers (or
>> similar endeavors) with say 10-30 concurrent users. I can request more
>> resources.
>>
>>
>>  As the notebook run as a particular user and there is non privileges
>> separation, I doubt you'll find
>> 30 person sharing the same account.
>>
>
> With nbcloud? Currently, I do have 30 people logged in to a single box
> with the server being run by a single account.
>
>
>>  As for your resources problem, amazon EC2 is free for the first
>> hundreds of hour I think[2], so your student can
>> each get an account and could mess around without impacting others
>> performances.
>>
>>  The last thing I noticed is that the Clusters tab seemed to start and
>> assign processes on its own. At least none of the students owned up to
>> setting 100 processes and clicking start. Expected? Ghost in the
>> machine? Or sneaky student?
>>
>>
>>  We never had any issues report on this,
>> and the code is pretty strait forward,
>> so my guess is the second one.
>>
>>  Also, in my opinion, it would be great to have the first impressions
>> from your students.
>>
>   Things that might look obvious from our point of view might not make
>> sense at all to new user.
>> So don't hesitate if you have more feedback.
>>
>
> As I mentioned most of them had very little Python background. As is often
> the case, I think they took to it faster than I did to be honest, since I
> have more set ideas and context.
>
>
>>
>>  Thanks again.
>>  --
>> Matthias
>>
>>  [1] nbcloud : https://notebookcloud.appspot.com/login
>> [2] EC2 free : http://aws.amazon.com/fr/ec2/#pricing
>>
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>
>
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>
> I would like to change my script in a way that it sets up the accounts on
> one machine but that the notebook servers that I start connect to a remote
> cluster of ipython kernels so as not to overtax that one machine. I lack
> the knowledge as to whether that is actually possible but with your need as
> motivation and help by the awesome ipython folks I can work on this.
>
> Would that be a suitable scenario for you?
>

Yes, that sounds reasonable, depending on the resources I can get dedicated
to this server, though I also have access to a remote cluster. I may have
to do some negotiating with IT for this to use the notebook launcher more
or less as you are already. I'd also be interested in helping out with
seeing about the single machine case, though I'm stretched pretty thing
right now.


>
> Best,
> Moritz
>
>
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