Collective asynchronous remote invocation (CARI): a high-level and efficient communication API for irregular applications

W. Ahmad, Bryan Carpenter, A. Shafi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Message Passing Interface (MPI) standard continues to dominate the landscape of parallel computing as the de facto API for writing large-scale scientific applications. But the critics argue that it is a low-level API and harder to practice than shared memory approaches. This paper addresses the issue of programming productivity by proposing a high-level, easy-to-use, and e�cient programming API that hides and segregates complex low-level message passing code from the application specific code. Our proposed API is inspired by communication patterns found in Gadget-2, which is an MPI-based parallel production code for cosmological N-body and hydrodynamic simulations. In this paper we analyze Gadget-2 with a view to understanding what high-level Single Program Multiple Data (SPMD) communication abstractions might be developed to replace the intricate use of MPI in such an irregular application—and do so without compromising the e�fficiency. Our analysis revealed that the use of low-level MPI primitives—bundled with the computation code—makes Gadget-2 di�cult to understand and probably hard to maintain. In addition, we found out that the original Gadget-2 code contains a small handful of—complex and recurring—patterns of message passing. We also noted that these complex patterns can be reorganized into a higher level communication library with some modifications to the Gadget-2 code. We present the implementation and evaluation of one such message passing pattern (or schedule) that we term Collective Asynchronous Remote Invocation (CARI). As the name suggests, CARI is a collective variant of Remote Method Invocation (RMI), which is an attractive, high-level, and established paradigm in distributed systems programming. The CARI API might be implemented in several ways—we develop and evaluate two versions of this API on a compute cluster. The performance evaluation reveals that CARI versions of the Gadget-2 code perform as well as the original Gadget-2 code but the level of abstraction is raised considerably.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Conference on Computational Science - Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 1 Jun 20113 Jun 2011


ConferenceInternational Conference on Computational Science
Abbreviated titleICCS 2011


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