Setting up Google Cloud Compute

This page describes the process of setting up Google Cloud and configuring Studio to integrate with it.

Configuring Google Cloud Compute

Create and select a new Google Cloud project

Go to the Google Cloud console (, and either choose a project that you will use to back cloud computing or create a new one. If you have not used the Google console before and there are no projects, there will be a big button “create project” in the dashboard. Otherwise, you can create a new project by selecting the drop-down arrow next to current project name in the top panel, and then clicking the “+” button.

Enable billing for the project

Google Cloud computing actually bills you for the compute time you use, so you must have billing enabled. On the bright side, when you sign up with Google Cloud they provide $300 of promotional credit, so really in the beginning you are still using it for free. On the not so bright side, to use machines with gpus you’ll need to show that you are a legitimate customer and add $35 to your billing account. In order to enable billing, go to the left-hand pane in the Google Cloud console, select billing, and follow the instructions to set up your payment method.

Generate service credentials

The machines that submit cloud jobs will need to be authorized with service credentials. Go to the left-hand pane in the Google Cloud console and select API Manager -> Credentials. Then click the “Create credentials” button, choose service account key, leave key type as JSON, and in the “Service account” drop-down select “New service account”. Enter a service account name (the name can be virtually anything and won’t matter for the rest of the instructions). The important part is selecting a role. Click the “Select a role” dropdown menu, in “Project” select “Service Account Actor”, and then scroll down to “Compute Engine” and select “Compute Engine Admin (v1)”. Then scroll down to “Pub/Sub”, and add a role “Pub/Sub editor” (this is required to create queues, publish and read messages from them). If you are planning to use Google Cloud storage (directly, without the Firebase layer) for artifact storage, select the Storage Admin role as well. You can also add other roles if you are planning to use these credentials in other applications. When done, click “Create”. Google Cloud console should generate a json credentials file and save it to your computer.

Configuring Studio

Adding credentials

Copy the json file credentials to the machine where Studio will be run, and create the environment variable GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS that points to it. That is, run

export GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS=/path/to/credentials.json

Note that this variable will be gone when you restart the terminal, so if you want to reuse it, add it to ~/.bashrc (linux) or ~/.bash_profile (OS X)

Modifying the configuration file

In the config file (the one that you use with the --config flag, or, if you use the default, in the studio/default_config.yaml), go to the cloud section. Change projectId to the project id of the Google project for which you enabled cloud computing. You can also modify the default instance parameters (see Cloud computing for studio for limitations though).


To test if things are set up correctly, go to studio/examples/general and run

studio run --cloud=gcloud

Then run studio locally, and watch the new experiment. In a little while, it should change its status to “finished” and show the system information (number of cpus, amount of ram / hdd) of a default instance. See Cloud computing for studio for more instructions on using an instance with specific hardware parameters.