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Target audience: Any user who wants to use a container to run ModelArray and/or ConFixel

What is covered on this page? How to use the container image of ModelArray + ConFixel.

What is not covered on this page? Step by step details on how to run ModelArray and ConFixel. For a full walkthrough on how to use our software, please refer to vignette("walkthrough"). We highly suggest reviewing that page if you’re new to ModelArray.


Besides running ModelArray and ConFixel on a local computer, users also have an option to run them on High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters. When using HPC clusters, users may not have full privilege to install all the dependent packages. Therefore, we provide the option to download our software as a container image that includes ModelArray + ConFixel.

Our container image is publicly available at Docker Hub. Although HPC clusters do not usually support docker commands, this container image can be run with singularity commands, which are usually available on HPC clusters (see below for details).

Using singularity to run on HPC clusters

Prerequisite: Singularity is installed on your cluster. If not, please contact your cluster’s administrator.

Pull the container from Docker Hub

We first pull the container from Docker Hub using the singularity pull command as follows:

singularity pull docker://pennlinc/modelarray_confixel:<tagName>

You will replace <tagName> with the actual tag, e.g., 0.1.2, or latest. You should see a singularity image (.sif) in current directory: modelarray_confixel_<tagName>.sif

After pulling, let’s make sure you can singularity run the image:

singularity run --cleanenv \
    modelarray_confixel_<tagName>.sif \

You should now be inside an R environment with the capability to load the ModelArray R package as you would in RStudio: library(ModelArray).

This is also the way to interactively use this container image to run R, but please make sure you mount necessary directories with -B - see below for explanations.

How to run the container?

singularity run --cleanenv -B /directory/of/your/data \
  /path/to/singularity/image/modelarray_confixel_<tagName>.sif \
  <command you want to run>


-B /directory/of/your/data allows you to mount the data directory so that singularity can read and write data inside it. If your data exists inside your current working directory, you might do -B $PWD;

/path/to/singularity/image/modelarray_confixel_<tagName>.sif is the full path to the singularity image (.sif) you pulled;

ModelArray and ConFixel are both included in this container. To run ConFixel, simply replace <command you want to run> with ConFixel commands (e.g., confixel).

To run ModelArray, you may first save the R commands into an R script, then replace <command you want to run> with Rscript /path/to/your/Rscript. Make sure this Rscript has been mounted (-B), too, e.g., If it’s not in the directory /directory/of/your/data, please do: -B /directory/of/your/data,/directory/of/Rscript. See here for more on how to mount multiple directories.

You might submit this command singularity run as a job running on the cluster compute node.

More information?

We have provided a detailed example walkthrough of ModelArray and ConFixel at: vignette("walkthrough"). Please refer to this page for a tutorial on how to use ModelArray and ConFixel.