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A pleasant surprise for participants in the MPI effort was the interesting intellectual issues that arose. This article has concentrated on some of these interesting and difficult issues, but for most cases, programming in MPI is straightforward and is similar to programming with other message-passing interfaces.

MPI does not claim to be the definitive answer to all needs. Indeed, our insistence on simplicity and timeliness of the standard precludes that. We believe the MPI interface provides a useful basis for the development of software for message-passing environments. Besides promoting the emergence of parallel software, a message-passing standard provides vendors with a clearly defined, base set of routines that they can implement efficiently. Hardware support for parts of the system is also possible, and this may greatly enhance parallel scalability.

At the final MPI Forum meeting in February 1994, it was decided that plans for extending MPI should wait for more experience with the current version. It seems clear, however, that MPI will soon be expanded in some of the directions listed below.

For more information, an MPI-specific newsgroup, comp.parallel.mpi, now exists. The official version of the specification document can be obtained from netlib [4] by sending an email message to with the message: ``send from mpi''. A postscript file will be mailed back to you by the netlib server. The document may also be obtained via anonymous ftp from, and a hypertext version is available through the world-wide-web at

Jack Dongarra
Tue Jan 17 21:48:11 EST 1995