[Beowulf] Re: Beowulf Digest, Vol 19, Issue 14

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Sep 21 16:22:22 PDT 2005

At 12:55 PM 9/21/2005, Maurice Hilarius wrote:
>Eugene Leitl Wrote:
> >Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 12:52:34 +0200
> >From: Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>
> >Subject: [Beowulf] Redmond ships MPICH2 as part of Windows Cluster
> >       Edition
> >To: Beowulf at beowulf.org
> >
> >
> >http://www.eweek.com/print_article2/0,1217,a=160228,00.asp
> >
> >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.
> >
> >
> >
>And if this helps them gain acceptance in cluster environments, then
>watch for a cluster release sometime later with their "new and improved"
>MPI which, of course, is closed and which will be incompatible with any
>Open source versions..
>Of course, Microsoft has done exactly the same crap so many times before.
>The industry term is "embrace and extend", I believe..
>"Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it"
>I think the crowning moment will be when we see people posting on this
>and other cluster lists asking support questions for it, rather than
>asking M$ these questions.

More to the point, how will MS fit it in with .NET, web services, and C#?

Recall that in the MS development world, you don't really make library 
calls, as they would be understood in the classical C development model. 
There are wrappers and indirection galore.  Presumably, there's a MS-MPI 
API defined, but the idea of a subroutine library is not where MS is 
heading with their other product offerings, which seem to be more 
transactionalized (think in terms of SQLServer or IIS). You might also look 
at the "Windows Communication Foundation"

What sort of icon will be used for the MPI functions in the Visual 
development environments? In old versions of VB, you'd plonk a "timer 
object" or an "internet object" onto your form, and then manipulate the 
properties of that object to do things.  Granted, to a certain extent, MS 
has moved away from the document as object container model, and moved more 
towards a transaction or service provider model. e.g. I want to display an 
account number so I invoke the account number method which uses http to 
talk to a service provider which returns the number, possibly as XML, and 
my local software renders it appropriately.  The whole idea is that my 
software neither knows nor cares where the data comes from.. the 
indirection is taken care of by middleware.

Anyway.. it's hard to see how MPI fits into this model.  MPI as a transport 
mechanism from service consumer to service provider (instead of sockets and 
TCP/IP or RPC)?  Synchronization?
The Microsoft MPI (MS-MPI) is a high-speed networking interface that runs 
over Gigabit, InfiniBand, or any network that provides a WinSock 
Direct–enabled driver. MS-MPI is based on and compatible with the Argonne 
National Labs MPICH2 implementation of MPI2.
MS-MPI includes support (bindings) for the C, Fortran77, and Fortran90 
programming languages, and the latest release of Microsoft Visual Studio 
includes a parallel debugger that works with MS-MPI. Developers can launch 
their MPI applications on multiple compute nodes from within the Visual 
Studio environment, and then Visual Studio will automatically connect the 
processes on each node, enabling the developer to individually pause and 
examine program variables on each node.

Your guess is as good as mine.

BTW, nowhere that I saw in the MS white paper or on their ComputeCluster 
Solution web pages does it say that their MPI stack will be opensource, 
just that it's derived from MPICH2, and that "the product will work with 
other Windows-compatible MPI stacks".  Perhaps they have just promised API 
level compatibility?

Note well:"
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."

James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
tel: (818)354-2075
fax: (818)393-6875

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