Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ames Laboratory puts the "squeeze" on communications technology

03.07.2002


New parallel library allows maximum performance for communication networks



A new message-passing library that makes it possible to extract optimum performance from both workstation and personal computer clusters, as well as from large massively parallel supercomputers has been developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. The new library, called MP_Lite, supports and enhances the basic capabilities that most software programs require to communicate between computers.

Although MP_Lite could be scaled up easily, its objective is not to provide all the capabilities of the full message-passing interface, or MPI, standard. MPI is a widely used model that standardizes the syntax and functionality for message-passing programs, allowing a uniform interface from the application to the underlying communication network. Parallel libraries that offer the full MPI standard ease programming problems by reducing the need to repeat work, such as defining consistent data structures, data layouts and methods that implement key algorithms.


“Our goal with MP_Lite is to illustrate how to get better performance in a portable and user-friendly manner and to understand exactly where any inefficiencies in the MPI standard may be coming from,” said David Turner, an Ames Laboratory assistant scientist and the principle investigator working on the MP_Lite project. He explained that the MP_Lite library is smaller and much easier to work with than full MPI libraries. “It’s ideal for performing message-passing research that may eventually be used to improve full MPI implementations and possibly influence the MPI standard,” he said.

Turner noted that it was “mainly frustration” that led him to develop the MP_Lite library. “Most message-passing packages are large and clunky to work with, and are often difficult to install. If you run into any errors at all, they give you very cryptic messages that mean nothing unless you actually wrote the library,” he said. “So a lot of the reason I got into the project was not just to improve the efficiency, but also to make the message-passing more user-friendly.”

Offering an example, Turner said, “If two processors are communicating, and one waits a minute for a response from the other one – well, a minute is a very long time in this context – the library should put out a warning into a log file. But that’s something that’s not done. Most message-passing systems don’t tell you what’s wrong if a communication buffer overflows or a node is waiting for a message that never gets sent. What if there’s a five-minute wait for a message?” he continued. “Something is probably frozen up, so at that point the library should implement an abort and give the user as much information about the current state of the system as possible.” Turner noted that MP_Lite operates with minimal buffering, and warns if there are any potential problems. When possible, MP_Lite will dump warnings to a log file and eventually time-out when a lock-up occurs. “There’s a lot of these user-friendly aspects that I’d like to see put into other message-passing systems,” he said.

In addition to enhancing performance, another goal Turner has for MP_Lite is to tie it directly to a full MPI library. To do so, he’s been working with the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and running their MPICH library on top of MP_Lite. “By doing this, we can pass the good performance of MP_Lite on to the full MPI implementation,” he said. “So we combine the best of both, keeping the efficiency of my library and the greater functionality of Argonne’s.”

Turner said he named the library MP_Lite for several reasons. The small size of the library’s code makes it easy to install anywhere – it compiles in under a minute. And there’s much less code, so it’s more streamlined than MPI. It also has its own syntax, which is simpler and can be used in place of the MPI syntax. The other reason Turner likes calling the library MP_Lite is the answer he’s able to give when responding to people who ask him, “I use this MPI function; why isn’t it in your library?” He simply replies, “Well, it’s ‘lite’ ”

Turner admits that the work on MP_Lite suits him well. “I like the puzzle aspect of it. I like tuning codes and getting them to run on a scaling computer, and trying to squeeze more performance out of what’s there,” he said.

The research is funded by DOE’s office of Mathematical Information and Computer Sciences. Ames Laboratory is operated for the DOE by Iowa State University. The Lab conducts research into various areas of national concern, including energy resources, high-speed computer design, environmental cleanup and restoration, and the synthesis and study of new materials.

Note: MP_Lite may be downloaded free of charge from: http://www.scl.ameslab.gov/Projects/MP_Lite/

David Turner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scl.ameslab.gov/Projects/MP_Lite/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
15.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Researchers 3-D print first truly microfluidic 'lab on a chipl devices
15.08.2017 | Brigham Young University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>