[mpi3-coll] Reduction in neighborhood collectives, persistence?

Jed Brown jedbrown at mcs.anl.gov
Thu Nov 24 16:37:32 CST 2011

I was looking through the collectives document from
http://svn.mpi-forum.org/trac2/mpi-forum-web/ticket/258 There appear to be
some missing functions such as MPI_Neighbor_allreduce(),
MPI_Neighbor_allgatherw(), and others. There is a comment on that ticket
about dropping reduce due to lack of use cases. Well, off the top of my
head, MPI_Neighbor_allreducew() is ideal for:

1. sparse matrix-vector multiplication using column-oriented distribution
(or transpose multiplication with row-oriented distribution, or symmetric
2. the update in symmetric additive Schwarz
3. basic linear algebraic operations involving partially assembled matrix
formats such as those found in non-overlapping domain decomposition methods
4. basic linear algebraic operations involving nested or bordered matrix
formats such as show up in multiphysics applications or when solving
optimization problems
5. finite element residual evaluation using a non-overlapping element
partition (the most common way to implement)
6. finite volume or discontinuous Galerkin flux accumulation using
non-overlapping face partition (cell/element partition with redundant flux
computation is more common, but both are used)

If provided, we would use it immediately in PETSc for the first four
(through our VecScatter object which is also used in examples for scenarios
5 and 6). Is this a sufficient number/importance of use cases to justify
neighbor reduce? (Did anyone actually try to come up with use cases?)

MPI_Neighbor_allgatherw() is much less essential, but it's still convenient
to avoid packing. (Packing by the caller isn't hard, but that argument
makes all "w" versions option. It looks inconsistent to skip just this one
case. Also, the performance of packing can be delicate in a NUMA
environment, so it would be good to do it all through a common mechanism.)

Of course all of these should have non-blocking variants (we never use the
blocking versions in PETSc).

I hope it's not too late to get these in.

Also, what happened to persistent collectives (including these neighborhood
versions)? This page looks pretty bare:

We would be especially interested in persistent versions of the
neighborhood "v" and "w" variants because it lets us build a persistent
handle so that the MPI implementation can determine all message sizes once
in setup instead of needing to rebuild it in each call (of which there may
be thousands or millions). In my opinion, not offering it is an implicit
declaration that you think there is no setup that can be amortized across
calls. This seems unlikely to me in the case of neighbor collectives.
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