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MCAPI and MPI: take two

My last blog post and MCAPI and MPI is worth some further explanation…

There were a number of good questions raised (both publicly in comments, and privately to me via email).

I ended up chatting with some MCAPI people from PolyCore Software: Sven Brehmer and Ted Gribb.  We had a very interesting discussion which I won’t try to replicate here.  Instead, we ended up recording an RCE-Cast today about MCAPI and MPI.  It’ll be released in a few weeks (Brock already had one teed up to be released this weekend).

The main idea is that Sven and Ted were not trying to say that MCAPI is faster/better than MPI.

MCAPI is squarely aimed at a different market than MPI — the embedded market.  Think: accelerators, DSPs, FPGAs, etc.  And although MCAPI can be used for larger things (e.g., multiple x86-type servers on a network), there’s already well-established high-quality tools for that (e.g., MPI).

So perhaps it might be interesting to explore the realm of MPI + MCAPI in some fashion.

There’s a bunch of different forms that (MPI + MCAPI) could take — which one(s) would be useful?  I cited a few forms in my prior blog post; we talked about a few more on the podcast.

But it’s hard to say without someone committing to doing some research, or a customer saying “I want this.”  Talk is cheap — execution requires resources.

Would this be something that you, gentle reader, would be interested in?  If so, let me know in the comments or drop me an email.

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From @softtalkblog, I was recently directed to an article about the Multicore Communication API (MCAPI) and MPI.  Interesting stuff.

The main sentiments expressed in the article seem quite reasonable:

  1. MCAPI plays better in the embedded space than MPI (that’s what MCAPI was designed for, after all).  Simply put: MPI is too feature-rich (read: big) for embedded environments, reflecting the different design goals of MCAPI vs. MPI.
  2. MCAPI + MPI might be a useful combination.  The article cites a few examples of using MCAPI to wrap MPI messages.  Indeed, I agree that MCAPI seems like it may be a useful transport in some environments.

One thing that puzzled me about the article, however, is that it states that MPI is terrible at moving messages around within a single server.

Huh.  That’s news to me…

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