GPU basecalling with MinION

While ago I’ve been strugglin with enabling GPU live basecalling in MinKNOW on non-GridION systems. Naturally, ONT wasn’t providing easy way to use GPU in your custom machine, otherwise there wouldn’t be much motivation to buy GridION, right? Still, it turns out you can enable live GPU basecalling in MinKNOW given you have GPU with CUDA-support in your computer. Below I’ll describe briefly what needs to be done. I’m assuming you have MinKNOW and GPU with CUDA support already installed.

First of all, make sure you have CUDA version 6+ correctly installed in your system (instruction to install CUDA are here).


If you see something like the image below, you are ready to go 🙂

Now you’ll need to get guppy binaries with CUDA support as those provided with MinKNOW have no GPU support. You can get them from ONT website. Note, guppy major and minor version has to match to the version currently being used in MinKNOW. You can check this version using:

/opt/ont/minknow/guppy/bin/guppy_basecall_server -v

So, I can install guppy v4.0.x (I’ve chose v4.0.15) with CUDA support using (note, you may need to adjust version in below commands depending on what you get from the previous command):

mkdir -p ~/src; cd ~/src
# you may need to change the guppy version
tar xpfz ont-guppy_4.0.15_linux64.tar.gz
mv ont-guppy ont-guppy_4.0.15

Now just link you guppy binaries inside /opt/ont/minknow (again, you may need to adjust guppy version here)

cd /opt/ont/minknow
sudo mv guppy guppy0
# you may need to change the guppy version
sudo ln -s ~/src/ont-guppy_4.0.15 guppy

Then edit /opt/ont/minknow/conf/app_conf (use sudo!) and change line with gpu_calling to true and also num_threads and ipc_threads to 3 and 2, respectively (you can also define which GPUs you want to enable – by default all available cuda devices will be used):

    "gpu_calling": true,  
    "gpu_devices": "cuda:all",
    "num_threads": 3,
    "ipc_threads": 2, 

Finally close MinKNOW client (if any is running) and restart MinKNOW system service:

sudo service minknow stop
sudo service minknow start

Now you should see guppy using GPU (-x cuda:all) and you GPU will be used if you run sequencing with live basecalling. Note, you can monitor your gpu usage using gpustat or glances.

ps ax | grep guppy_basecall_server


2 thoughts on “GPU basecalling with MinION

  1. I’m curious if you are using Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04? We’d prefer to have this work with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with our RTX 3070s.

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