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MPI-3 voting: results

May 31, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

Last March’s MPI Forum meeting was the last meeting to get a “formal reading” of proposals into MPI-3. Some were quite controversial. Some ended up being withdrawn before the next meeting.

This week’s Forum meeting in Japan saw the first vote (out of two) for each the surviving proposals from the March meeting (see the full voting results here). Some continued to be quite controversial. Some didn’t survive their first votes (doh!). Others narrowly survived.

Here’s a summary of some of the users-will-care-about-these proposals, and how they fared: Read More »

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Followup to “The Common Communications Interface (CCI)”

May 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm PST

A few people have made remarks to me about the pair of CCI guest blog entries from Scott Atchley of Oak Ridge (entry 1, entry 2) indicating that they didn’t quite “get it”.  So let me try to put Scott’s words in concrete terms…

CCI is an API that represents a unification of low-level “native” network APIs.  Specifically: many network vendors are doing essentially the same things in their low-level “native” network APIs.  In the HPC world, MPI hides all these different low-level APIs.  But there are real-world non-HPC apps out there that need extreme network performance, and therefore write their own unification layers for verbs, portals, MX, …etc.  Ick!

So why don’t we unify all these low-level native network APIs?

NOTE: This is quite similar to how we unified the high-level network APIs into MPI.

Two other key facts are important to realize here: Read More »

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Open MPI v1.6 released

May 14, 2012 at 9:29 am PST

Marking the end of over 2 years of active development, the Open MPI project has released a new “stable” series of releases starting with v1.6.

Specifically, Open MPI maintains two concurrent release series:

  • Odd number releases are “feature development” releases (e.g., 1.5.x).  They’re considered to be stable and test, but not yet necessarily “mature” (i.e., have lots of real-world usage to shake out bugs).  New features are added over the life of feature development releases.
  • Even number releases are “super stable” releases (e.g., 1.6.x).  After enough time, feature development releases transition into super stable releases — the new functionality has been vetted by enough real world usage to be considered stable enough for production sites.

Conceptually, it looks like this:

Read More »

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The Architecture of Open Source Applications, Volume II

May 8, 2012 at 10:48 am PST

AOSA 2 book cover

It’s finally out!  The Architecture of Open Source Applications, Volume II, is now available in dead tree form (PDFs will be available for sale soon, I’m told).

Additionally, all content from the book will also be freely available on aosabook.org next week sometime (!).

But know this: all royalties from the sales of this book go to Amnesty International.  So buy a copy; it’s for a good cause.

Both volumes 1 and 2 are excellent educational material for seeing how other well-known open source applications have been architected.  What better way to learn than to see how successful, widely-used open source software packages were designed?  Even better, after you read about each package, you can go look at the source code itself to further grok the issues.

Read More »

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The Common Communication Interface (CCI)

April 30, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

Today we feature part 2 of 2 in a deep-dive guest post from Scott Atchley, HPC Systems Engineer in the Technology Integration Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Given the goals described in part 1, we are developing the Common Communication Interface (CCI) as an open-source project for use by any application that needs a NAL. Note that CCI does not replace MPI since it does not provide matching or collectives. But it can be used by an MPI, probably as its NAL (likewise by a parallel file system). For applications that rely on the sockets API, it can provide improved performance when run on systems with high-performance interconnects and fall back on actual sockets when not.

How does the CCI design meet the previously-described criteria for a new NAL?

Read More »

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