Document Type

Working Paper



Embargo Period



scalable parallel libraries, Multicomputer Toolbox, data distribution




Computer Sciences


"First-generation" scalable parallel libraries have been achieved, and are maturing, within the Multicomputer Toolbox. The Toolbox includes sparse, dense, iterative linear algebra, a stiff ODE/DAE solver, and an open software technology for additional numerical algorithms, plus an inter-architecture Makefile mechanism for building applications. We have devised C-based strategies for useful classes of distributed data structures, including distributed matrices and vectors. The underlying Zipcodemessage passing system has enabled process-grid abstractions of multicomputers, communication contexts, and process groups, all characteristics needed for building scalable libraries, and scalable application software. We describe the data-distribution-independent approach to building scalable libraries, which is needed so that applications do not unnecessarily have to redistribute data at high expense. We discuss the strategy used for implementing data-distribution mappings. We also describe high-level message-passing constructs used to achieve flexibility in transmission of data structures (Zipcode invoices). We expect Zipcode and MPI message-passing interfaces (which will incorporate many features from Zipcode, mentioned above) to co-exist in the future. We discuss progress thus far in achieving uniform interfaces for different algorithms for the same operation, which are needed to create poly-algorithms. Poly-algorithms are needed to widen the potential for scalability; uniform interfaces make simpler the testing of alternative methods with an application (whether for parallelism or for convergence, or both). We indicate that data-distribution-independent algorithms are sometimes more efficient than fixed-data-distribution counterparts, because redistribution of data can be avoided, and that this question is strongly application dependent.

Additional Information

Submitted to HICSS-27: Minitrack on Tools and Languages for Transportable Parallel Applications



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.