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5.2.10 Portability

In all of the software development cycles, one of our primary concerns was portability . We wanted our programs to be portable not only between various types of parallel computers, but also between parallel and sequential computers. It was in this sense that Cubix was such a breakthrough, since it allowed us to leave all the standard runtime system calls in our programs. In most cases, Cubix programs will run either on a supported parallel computer or on a simple sequential machine through the provision of a small number of dummy routines for the sequential machine. Using these tools, we were able to implement our codes on all of the commercially and locally built hypercubes.

The next question to arise, however, concerned possible extensions to alternative architectures, such as shared-memory or mesh-based structures. The crystal router offered a solution. By design, messages in the crystal router can be sent to any other node. This step merely involves construction of a set of appropriate queues. When the interprocessor communication is actually invoked, the system is responsible for routing messages between processors-a step in which potential differences in the underlying hardware architecture can be concealed. As a result, applications using the crystal router can conceivably operate on any type of parallel or sequential hardware.

Guy Robinson
Wed Mar 1 10:19:35 EST 1995