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Many Pairs of Eyes

December 1, 2011 at 7:00 am PST

Let me tell you a reason why open source and open communities are great: information sharing.

Let me explain…

I am Cisco’s representative to the Open MPI project, a middleware implementation of the Message Passing Interface (MPI) standard that facilitates big number crunching and parallel programming.  It’s a fairly large, complex code base: Ohloh says that there are 0ver 674,000 lines of code.  Open MPI is portable to a wide variety of platforms and network types.

However, supporting all the things that MPI is suppose to support and providing the same experience on every platform and network can be quite challenging.  For example, a user posted a problem to our mailing list the other day about a specific feature not working properly on OS X.

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SC’11, Open MPI BOF, and 10 petaflops!

November 6, 2011 at 6:07 am PST

SC'11 logoI’m sure most everyone has heard already, but the K supercomputer has been upgraded and now reaches over 10 petaflops.  Wow!

10.51 petaflops, actually, so if you round up, you can say that they “turned it up to 11.”  Ahem.

We’ll actually have Shinji Sumimoto from the K team speaking during the Open MPI BOF at SC’11.  Rolf vandeVaart from NVIDIA will also be discussing their role in Open MPI during the BOF.

We have the 12:15-1:15pm timeslot on Wednesday (room TCC 303); come join us to hear about the present status and future plans for Open MPI.

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mpicc != mpicc

September 26, 2011 at 5:00 am PST

In my last post, I talked about why MPI wrapper compilers are Good for you.  The short version is that it is faaar easier to use a wrapper compiler than to force users to figure out what compiler and linker flags the MPI implementation needs — because sometimes they need a lot of flags.

Hence, MPI wrappers are Good for you.  They can save you a lot of pain.

That being said, they can also hurt portability, as one user noted on the Open MPI user’s mailing list recently.

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Why MPI “wrapper” compilers are Good for you

September 23, 2011 at 5:20 am PST

An interesting thread on the Open MPI user’s mailing list came up the other day: a user wanted Open MPI’s “mpicc” wrapper compiler to accept the same command line options as MPICH’s “mpicc” wrapper.  On the surface, this is a very reasonable request.  After all, MPI is all about portability — so why not make the wrapper compilers be the same?

Unfortunately, this request exposes a can of worms and at least one unfortunate truth: the MPI API is portable, but other aspects of MPI are not, such as compiling/linking MPI applications, launching MPI jobs, etc.

Let’s first explore what wrapper compilers are, and why they’re good for you.

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Open MPI v1.5.4 released

August 22, 2011 at 8:45 am PST

We released Open MPI v1.5.4 last week.  Woo hoo!

I can’t exactly predict the future, but I anticipate having one more release before transitioning it to 1.6 (i.e., transitioning it from a “feature” release series to a “stable” release series where only bug fixes will be applied).

The v1.5 series is actually progressing quite nicely towards v1.6.  It has gotten a lot of run time on real-world machines in production environments, and many bugs have shaken out.  And there are many new, shiny toys on our development trunk that are slated for v1.7 (i.e., they won’t go into the v1.5/v1.6 series).

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