Standard interface across platforms
One of the main strengths of the BLACS is that code which uses
the BLACS for its communication layer can run unchanged on any supported
platform. There are various packages designed to provide a message
passing interface that remains unchanged on several platforms,
including PICL, and more recently, MPI. These packages
are not available on all of the platforms that we wish to use. More
importantly, they are attempts at general libraries, and are thus somewhat
harder to use than a more restricted code.
The BLACS are written specifically for linear algebra programming.
Since the audience of the BLACS is known, the interface and methods
of using the routines can be simpler than for those of more general
message passing layers.
The BLACS have been written on top of the following message passing layers:
The BLACS are freely available, and
can be downloaded from here.
- Allows the BLACS to run on Thinking Machine's CM-5.
- Allows the BLACS to run across most parallel platforms.
- Allows the BLACS to run on IBM's SP series (SP1 and SP2).
- Allows the BLACS to run on Intel's supercomputer series
(iPSC2, iPSC/860, DELTA and PARAGON).
- Allows the BLACS to run anywhere PVM is supported, which includes most