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Series Foreword

The world of modern computing potentially offers many helpful methods and tools to scientists and engineers, but the fast pace of change in computer hardware, software, and algorithms often makes practical use of the newest computing technology difficult. The Scientific and Engineering Computation series focuses on rapid advances in computing technologies and attempts to facilitate transferring these technologies to applications in science and engineering. It will include books on theories, methods, and original applications in such areas as parallelism, large-scale simulations, time-critical computing, computer-aided design and engineering, use of computers in manufacturing, visualization of scientific data, and human-machine interface technology.

The series will help scientists and engineers to understand the current world of advanced computation and to anticipate future developments that will impact their computing environments and open up new capabilities and modes of computation.

This book is about the Message Passing Interface (MPI), an important and increasingly popular standarized and portable message passing system that brings us closer to the potential development of practical and cost-effective large-scale parallel applications. It gives a complete specification of the MPI standard and provides illustrative programming examples. This advanced level book supplements the companion, introductory volume in the Series by William Gropp, Ewing Lusk and Anthony Skjellum, Using MPI: Portable Parallel Programming with the Message-Passing Interface.

Janusz S. Kowalik


MPI, the Message Passing Interface, is a standardized and portable message-passing system designed by a group of researchers from academia and industry to function on a wide variety of parallel computers. The standard defines the syntax and semantics of a core of library routines useful to a wide range of users writing portable message-passing programs in Fortran 77 or C. Several well-tested and efficient implementations of MPI already exist, including some that are free and in the public domain. These are beginning to foster the development of a parallel software industry, and there is excitement among computing researchers and vendors that the development of portable and scalable, large-scale parallel applications is now feasible.

The MPI standardization effort involved over 80 people from 40 organizations, mainly from the United States and Europe. Most of the major vendors of concurrent computers at the time were involved in MPI, along with researchers from universities, government laboratories, and industry. The standardization process began with the Workshop on Standards for Message Passing in a Distributed Memory Environment, sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computing, held April 29-30, 1992, in Williamsburg, Virginia [29]. A preliminary draft proposal, known as MPI1, was put forward by Dongarra, Hempel, Hey, and Walker in November 1992, and a revised version was completed in February 1993 [11].

In November 1992, a meeting of the MPI working group was held in Minneapolis, at which it was decided to place the standardization process on a more formal footing. The MPI working group met every 6 weeks throughout the first 9 months of 1993. The draft MPI standard was presented at the Supercomputing '93 conference in November 1993. After a period of public comments, which resulted in some changes in MPI, version 1.0 of MPI was released in June 1994.

These meetings and the email discussion together constituted the MPI Forum, membership of which has been open to all members of the high performance computing community.

This book serves as an annotated reference manual for MPI, and a complete specification of the standard is presented. We repeat the material already published in the MPI specification document [15], though an attempt to clarify has been made. The annotations mainly take the form of explaining why certain design choices were made, how users are meant to use the interface, and how MPI implementors should construct a version of MPI. Many detailed, illustrative programming examples are also given, with an eye toward illuminating the more advanced or subtle features of MPI.

The complete interface is presented in this book, and we are not hesitant to explain even the most esoteric features or consequences of the standard. As such, this volume does not work as a gentle introduction to MPI, nor as a tutorial. For such purposes, we recommend the companion volume in this series by William Gropp, Ewing Lusk, and Anthony Skjellum, Using MPI: Portable Parallel Programming with the Message-Passing Interface. The parallel application developer will want to have copies of both books handy.

For a first reading, and as a good introduction to MPI, the reader should first read: Chapter 1, through Section gif; the material on point to point communications covered in Sections gif through gif and Section gif; the simpler forms of collective communications explained in Sections gif through gif; and the basic introduction to communicators given in Sections gif through gif. This will give a fair understanding of MPI, and will allow the construction of parallel applications of moderate complexity.

This book is based on the hard work of many people in the MPI Forum. The authors gratefully recognize the members of the forum, especially the contributions made by members who served in positions of responsibility: Lyndon Clarke, James Cownie, Al Geist, William Gropp, Rolf Hempel, Robert Knighten, Richard Littlefield, Ewing Lusk, Paul Pierce, and Anthony Skjellum. Other contributors were: Ed Anderson, Robert Babb, Joe Baron, Eric Barszcz, Scott Berryman, Rob Bjornson, Nathan Doss, Anne Elster, Jim Feeney, Vince Fernando, Sam Fineberg, Jon Flower, Daniel Frye, Ian Glendinning, Adam Greenberg, Robert Harrison, Leslie Hart, Tom Haupt, Don Heller, Tom Henderson, Anthony Hey, Alex Ho, C.T. Howard Ho, Gary Howell, John Kapenga, James Kohl, Susan Krauss, Bob Leary, Arthur Maccabe, Peter Madams, Alan Mainwaring, Oliver McBryan, Phil McKinley, Charles Mosher, Dan Nessett, Peter Pacheco, Howard Palmer, Sanjay Ranka, Peter Rigsbee, Arch Robison, Erich Schikuta, Mark Sears, Ambuj Singh, Alan Sussman, Robert Tomlinson, Robert G. Voigt, Dennis Weeks, Stephen Wheat, and Steven Zenith. We especially thank William Gropp and Ewing Lusk for help in formatting this volume.

Support for MPI meetings came in part from ARPA and NSF under grant ASC-9310330, NSF Science and Technology Center Cooperative agreement No. CCR-8809615, and the Commission of the European Community through Esprit Project P6643. The University of Tennessee also made financial contributions to the MPI Forum.

next up previous
Next: Introduction Up: MPI: The Complete Reference Previous: MPI: The Complete Reference

Jack Dongarra
Fri Sep 1 06:16:55 EDT 1995