Getting started

Singularity is another container platform. In some ways it appears similar to Docker from a user perspective, but in others, particularly in the system’s architecture, it is fundamentally different. These differences mean that Singularity is particularly well-suited to running on distributed, High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure, as well as a Linux laptop or desktop!

System administrators will not, generally, install Docker on shared computing platforms such as lab desktops, research clusters or HPC platforms because the design of Docker presents potential security issues for shared platforms with multiple users. Singularity, on the other hand, can be run by end-users entirely within “user space”, that is, no special administrative privileges need to be assigned to a user in order for them to run and interact with containers on a platform where Singularity has been installed.

On our training servers you will be able to use sudo to build singularity images whereas on the HPC of the VSC (Flemish Super Computer) some limitations are present (see section 26

Sign in to the remote platform, with Singularity installed, that you’ve been provided with access to. Check that the singularity command is available in your terminal.

singularity --version