Job Description JSON Schema

The Job Description json for Tibanna Pony and Zebra are different from the json for Tibanna, but it’s the same in that it defines an individual execution. The config part is largely the same. The Pony/Zebra input json does not have args but has its own set of fields.

The first step of the Pony/Zebra step function converts this input json to a Unicorn input json and pass it to the second step (run_task).

Example job description

    "description": [
       "This input json run a bwa-mem workflow, which is part of 4DN Hi-C pipeline",
       "on hg38 genome reference."
    "app_name": "bwa-mem",
    "_tibanna": {
      "env": "fourfront-webdev",
      "run_type": "bwa-mem"
    "output_bucket": "elasticbeanstalk-fourfront-webdev-wfoutput",
    "workflow_uuid": "0fbe4db8-0b5f-448e-8b58-3f8c84baabf5",
    "parameters" :  {"nThreads": 4},
    "input_files" : [
           "workflow_argument_name": "bwa_index",
           "uuid": "1f53df95-4cf3-41cc-971d-81bb16c486dd",
           "rename": "hg38.tar.gz"
           "workflow_argument_name": "fastq1",
           "uuid": "1150b428-272b-4a0c-b3e6-4b405c148f7c"
           "workflow_argument_name": "fastq2",
           "uuid": "f4864029-a8ad-4bb8-93e7-5108f462ccaa"
  "config": {
    "instance_type": "t3.large",
    "EBS_optimized": true,
    "ebs_size": 30,
    "ebs_type": "gp2",
    "shutdown_min": 30,
    "password": "",
    "log_bucket": "tibanna-output",
    "key_name": "4dn-encoded",
    "spot_instance": true,
    "spot_duration": 360,
    "behavior_on_capacity_limit": "wait_and_retry",
    "overwrite_input_extra": false,
    "cloudwatch_dashboard", false,
    "email": true,
    "public_postrun_json" : true
  "common_fields": {
    "award": "/awards/5UM1HL128773-04/",
    "lab": "/labs/bing-ren-lab/"
  "custom_pf_fields": {
    "out_bam": {
        "genome_assembly": "GRCh38"
  "wfr_meta": {
    "notes": "a nice workflow run"
  "custom_qc_fields": {
    "filtering_condition": "some condition"
  "push_error_to_end": true
  "dependency": {
    "exec_arn": [
  • The description field is an optional field for humans and they are ignored by Tibanna.
  • The app_name field contains the name of the workflow.
  • The output_bucket field specifies the bucket where all the output files go to. It is not required if _tibanna specifies env. The bucket name is auto-determined from the env value.
  • The workflow_uuid field contains the uuid of the 4DN workflow metadata.
  • The parameters field contains a set of workflow-specific parameters in a dictionary.
  • The additional_benchmarking_parameters field contains a set of additional parameters that are not required for workflow runs but is required for a benchmarking function (e.g. resource usage depends on number of reads which is not a parameter for workflow run)
  • The input_files field specifies the argument names (matching the names in CWL), the input file metadata uuid and its bucket and object key name.
    • workflow_argument_name and uuid are required fields.
    • bucket_name and object_key are deprecated. Using these fields can cause undesired outcome, especially starting 0.19.0 since the user-specified values can overwrite calculated bucket name (e.g. for open data bucket)
    • rename (optional) can be used to rename a file upon download from s3 to an instance where the workflow will be executed.
  • The config field is directly passed on to the second step, where instance_type, ebs_size, EBS_optimized are auto-filled, if not given.
    • The spot_instance field (optional), if set true, requests a spot instance instead of an on-demand instance.
    • The spot_duration field (optional), if set, requests a fixed-duration spot instance instead of a regular spot instance. The value is the duration in minutes. This field has no effect if spot_instance is either false or not set.
    • The behavior_on_capacity_limit field (optional) sets the behavior of Tibanna in case AWS instance Limit or Spot instance capacity limit is encountered. Default value is fail. If set to wait_and_retry, Tibanna will wait until the instance becomes available and rerun (10 min interval, for 1 week). If spot_instance is true and behavior_on_capacity_limit is set to retry_without_spot, when the spot instance is not available, it will automatically switch to a regular instance of the same type (applicable only when spot_instance is true).
    • The overwrite_input_extra (optional) allows overwriting on an existing extra file, if the workflow hasan output of type Output to-be-extra-input file (i.e., creating an extra file of an input rather than creating a new processed file object). Default false.
    • The cloudwatch_dashboard field (optional), if set true, creates a cloudwatch dashboard for the job, which allows users to trace memory, disk and CPU utilization during and after the run.
    • The email field (optional), if set true, sends a notification email to when a workflow run finishes.
    • The public_postrun_json field (optional) is recommended to be set true. This way the postrun json files become publicly available when they’re created.
    • The key_name field is recommended to be set 4dn-encoded which is the key used by the 4DN DCIC team.
  • The push_error_to_end field (optional), if set true, passes any error to the last step so that the metadata can be updated with proper error status. (default true)
  • The common_fields field (optional) contains a dictionary that can be directly passed to all the items created including WorkflowRun, ProcessedFile, QualityMetricWorkflowrun, QualityMetricQclist, and any other QualityMetric items. This field is overwritten by custom_pf_fields, wfr_meta or custom_qc_fields if provided.
  • The custom_pf_fields field (optional) contains a dictionary that can be directly passed to the processed file metadata. The key may be either ALL (applies to all processed files) or the argument name for a specific processed file (or both). This can overwrite common_fields.
  • The wfr_meta field (optional) contains a dictionary that can be directly passed to the workflow run metadata. This can overwrite common_fields.
  • The custom_qc_fields field (optional) contains a dictionary that can be directly passed to an associated Quality Metric object. This field does not apply to QualityMetricWorkflowrun and QualityMetricQclist. This field can overwrite common_fields.
  • The dependency field (optional) sets dependent jobs. The job will not start until the dependencies successfully finish. If dependency fails, the current job will also fail. The exec_arn is the list of step function execution arns. The job will wait at the run_task step, not at the start_task step (for consistenty with unicorn). This field will be passed to run_task as dependency inside the args field.