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Conference Papers Year : 2020

Collectives and Communicators: A Case for Orthogonality


A major reason for the success of MPI as the standard for large-scale, distributed memory programming is the economy and orthogonality of key concepts. These very design principles suggest leaner and better support for stencil-like, sparse collective communication, while at the same time reducing significantly the number of concrete operation interfaces, extending the functionality that can be supported by high-quality MPI implementations, and provisioning for possible future, much more wide-ranging functionality. As a starting point for discussion, we suggest to (re)define communicators as the sole carriers of the topological structure over processes that determines the semantics of the collective operations, and to limit the functions that can associate topological information with communicators to the functions for distributed graph topology and inter-communicator creation. As a consequence, one set of interfaces for collective communication operations (in blocking, non-blocking, and persistent variants) will suffice, explicitly eliminating the MPI_Neighbor_ interfaces (in all variants) from the MPI standard. Topological structure will not be implied by Cartesian communicators, which in turn will have the sole function of naming processes in a (d-dimensional, Euclidean) geometric space. The geometric naming can be passed to the topology creating functions as part of the communicator, and be used for the process reordering and topological collective algorithm selection. Concretely, at the price of only 1 essential, additional function, our suggestion can remove 10(+1) function interfaces from MPI-3, and 15 (or more) from MPI-4, while providing vastly more optimization scope for the MPI library implementation.
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Dates and versions

hal-03117285 , version 1 (21-01-2021)



Jesper Larsson Träff, Sascha Hunold, Guillaume Mercier, Daniel Holmes. Collectives and Communicators: A Case for Orthogonality. EuroMPI/USA '20: 27th European MPI Users' Group Meeting, Sep 2020, Austin, TX / Virtual, United States. pp.31-38, ⟨10.1145/3416315.3416319⟩. ⟨hal-03117285⟩


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