Cluster scheduler is crucial in high-performance computing (HPC). It
determines when and which user jobs should be allocated to available system
resources. Existing cluster scheduling heuristics are developed by human
experts based on their experience with specific HPC systems and workloads.
However, the increasing complexity of computing systems and the highly dynamic
nature of application workloads have placed tremendous burden on manually
designed and tuned scheduling heuristics. More aggressive optimization and
automation are needed for cluster scheduling in HPC. In this work, we present
an automated HPC scheduling agent named DRAS (Deep Reinforcement Agent for
Scheduling) by leveraging deep reinforcement learning. DRAS is built on a
novel, hierarchical neural network incorporating special HPC scheduling
features such as resource reservation and backfilling. A unique training
strategy is presented to enable DRAS to rapidly learn the target environment.
Once being provided a specific scheduling objective given by system manager,
DRAS automatically learns to improve its policy through interaction with the
scheduling environment and dynamically adjusts its policy as workload changes.
The experiments with different production workloads demonstrate that DRAS
outperforms the existing heuristic and optimization approaches by up to 45%.