[Beowulf] The Case for an MPI ABI

Mark Westwood mark.westwood at ohmsurveys.com
Tue Feb 22 00:23:42 PST 2005


You make a very persuasive case for an ABI.  As an end-user of MPI, and 
with no ambitions to be anything else, many of the benefits of an ABI 
you suggest would be very useful.  My recent experience of porting our 
MPI / Fortran codes to other platforms has been that getting the code to 
compile has been almost trivial (replace 'call flush(6)' by 'call 
flush_(6)' a few times, that sort of thing) but that getting to grips 
with the foreign environment (memory management, job submission, job 
start-up) is a real pain.

So, to all you salesman in the group, come back and try to sell me the 
ABI when it's ready.


Greg Lindahl wrote:
> Those of you who were at the Open IB conference last week saw me give
> a talk entitled "The Case for an MPI ABI". It seems that Patrick and I
> have been channeling each other AGAIN; see what happens when I move to
> California?
> The first question is: Does an ABI provide enough benefit for people
> to care? To care enough to sit on a committee?
> If the answer is "yes", then I think we'll have one. The minimum
> technical issues revolve around the contents of <mpi.h> and the names
> of shared libraries. The amount of work for MPICH or OpenMPI to
> support that part of an ABI is modest.
> If we wanted to go farther, I have a strawman proposal which addresses
> a generic startup procedure which would allow user applications, MPI
> implementations, and queue systems to all live in peace and harmony.
> This talk:
> http://www.openib.org/docs/oib_wkshp_022005/mpi-abi-pathscale-lindahl.pdf
> mostly talks about why we need an ABI, who wins and loses as a result
> of having one, and the pieces that could be in it. Please give it a
> look.
> -- greg
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Mark Westwood
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