[Beowulf] Redmond ships MPICH2 as part of Windows Cluster Edition

pesch at attglobal.net pesch at attglobal.net
Mon Sep 19 13:14:59 PDT 2005

It's the first time they openly declared it but I suspect they shipped open
source technology in their closed source products before...


Original Message:
From: Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 12:52:34 +0200
To: Beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: [Beowulf] Redmond ships MPICH2 as part of Windows Cluster Edition


Open Source Code Finds Way into Microsoft Product
September 15, 2005

By Peter Galli 
LOS ANGELES.In a move that shows just how far Microsoft Corp. has come, and
how pervasive open-source software is in certain areas, the software
powerhouse is, for the first time, including open-source technology in one
of its shipping products. 
Microsoft plans to include the Message Passing Interface.a library
specification for message passing proposed as a standard by a broad-based
committee of vendors, implementers and users.in its Windows Server 2003
Compute Cluster Edition, which went to public beta this week at the
Microsoft Developers Conference here and is on track to ship in the first
half of next year. 

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"MPI is key middleware that was designed by a consortia of all the
supercomputing vendors in the 1990s to allow the easy portability of code.
It abstracts away things like low-latency interconnect, and our focus is
making it super easy for ISVs to move their code," Kyril Faenov,
Microsoft's director for High Performance Computing, told eWEEK in a recent
interview at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Wash. 

"Actually, we are probably the first team at Microsoft that will actually
ship an open-source component inside of our solution, but we haven't made a
lot of noise around this yet," he said. 

Microsoft is working with Argonne National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of
Energy laboratory operated by the University of Chicago, and has taken its
MPICH2 reference implementation, which most ISVs have tested their code
against, and optimized it for performance and security. 

The MPICH2 Web site says its goals are to provide an MPI implementation for
important platforms, including clusters, SMPs and massively parallel
processors. It also provides a vehicle for MPI implementation research and
for developing new and better parallel-programming environments. The
current 1.0.2p1 version of MPICH2 was released in July. 

MPICH2 has been extensively tested on several platforms, including Linux,
IA32 and IA64, and Windows, the site says. 

"The interesting thing is that we are already starting to see results. ISVs
are coming back and saying that they just have to recompile and relink, and
their applications just work. So we are trying to make it as easy as
possible for them to be able to run their code in a Windows environment,"
Faenov said. 

"Down the road, the key advantage that we will be able to bring to this
community is the fact that the market for parallel development tools has
been very small and they have been very expensive. But Visual Studio 2005
will have a parallel debugging capability built in, and that will be
available to them for the cost of that package," he said. 

Click here to read about the official launch of both Visual Studio 2005 and
SQL Server 2005 in November. 

Microsoft has been warmly welcomed by Argonne as the lab's goal is to make
sure that its work gets the broadest penetration possible. "In fact, their
motivations are perfectly aligned with ours.that is, as broad a penetration
as possible," Faenov said. 

While the financial mechanisms are naturally different as Microsoft is a
commercial software firm and Argonne is funded by the government, "our
desires are the same and for them, a commercial company making use of the
software and getting it out there and having the schemas get done right,"
he said. 

It would have been extremely costly and complex for Microsoft to develop an
alternative to the MPI technology, which "is a complex piece of software
that would take years to develop," Faenov said. 

There would also have been a compatibility issue. "Standards are standards,
but they don't specify everything. It's the implementation that usually
defines that, and so this has been the reference implementation and most
ISVs have tested with it, and it gave us a level of assurance that we will
be able to meet the needs and reduce the costs for ISVs," he said. 

Asked by eWEEK what Microsoft will give back to the open-source community
for the MPI component, which is licensed under the BSD and not the GNU
General Public License (GPL), Faenov said all fixes will be given back,
while "we'll probably give the changes back as well." 

Microsoft has also learned a lot about what is required for a software
company to include an open-source technology component in its product, from
ascertaining who has contributed that code to being able to make sure that
all the licenses and permissions are in place, he said. 

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.leitl.org
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