[MPI3 Fortran] Proposing changes to Fortran 2008

Hubert Ritzdorf ritzdorf at it.neclab.eu
Thu Mar 27 15:03:00 CDT 2008

Aleksandar Donev wrote:
> On Thursday 27 March 2008 07:53, Hubert Ritzdorf wrote:
>> This is what some vendors already implemented (using different names).
>> When I remember (and understood)
>> it correctly, you mentioned that they didn't it right.
> They have not integrated it with the rest of the standard. You can do many 
> things that apparently work fine until you try them with polymorphic 
> assumed-shape arrays of a parameterized derived type (yes, Fortran has 
> those). A standard has to be internally fully self-consistent...it cannot 
> just say "oh, no one will do that, just make it work".
>> Since the 
>> behaviour should be well-defined if an
>> interface description is not available and the vendors have to implement
>> it, and it should be possible
>> to specify it for a single argument.
> The existing standard says the following about implicit interfaces. A 
> routine's interface can be omitted, however, the interface exists and there 
> is a *unique* interface (modulo some attributes that can be omitted). That 
> is, an MPI_Send routine, which exists somewhere, according to the Fortran 
> standard, has to either accept an integer buffer or a real buffer. It cannot 
> accept both. There is a *unique* interface. If the interface is implicit, it 
> is up to the user to ensure the actual arguments actually match the type/rank 
> etc. of the dummy. If it is explicit, the compiler helps check it. That is 
> the ONLY difference between implicit and explicit interfaces.
> Now, compilers often allow users to violate the standard and call MPI_Send 
> with both a real and an integer buffer array, and they either do not do any 
> analysis to detect it, or if they do, they offer a compiler switch to 
> say "close your eyes please". It is however, not conforming to the Fortran 
> standard, period.
I don't believe that the compiler guys have introduced such compiler 
switches only for MPI
since also other libraries have such problems.
And I have also seen compiler switches for "don't perform copy-in/copy 
out". And I see
Fortran codes transferring scalar arguments such as "my_array (1,1)" 
(nevertheless many
data items are transferred)  in order to avoid  copy in/copy out.
>> There are 2 general problems for MPI with these copy-in/copy-out behaviour:
> I understand the problems it causes with MPI. But, it also make a lot of 
> wonderful things work in Fortran. You cannot remove it from Fortran just to 
> accommodate MPI. Saying "don't do copy in/out" will only work if you specify, 
> in details, what to do about situations where copy in/out is required. Should 
> we disallow those situations (i.e., put rules like "the actual argument shall 
> not be..."). Do some existing Fortran codes rely on copy in/out, for example:
> CALL MPI_Send(my_array(1,:),...) ! Will copy column 1 into a contig buffer
I agree that there may be Fortran application codes which are using 
this. But this would probably not
work for MPI_Isend. And this is the main problem. The application 
programmers cannot always decide
what the compiler is doing and whether the MPI calls will work or not.
> Should we now make those programs non-conforming? I am not offering answers 
> here, I am pointing out that explicit answers are required.
I think, that it must be possible to explicitly define what is performed 
at the subroutine interface
so that the application programmer AND  the compiler explicitly knows 
what the other  partner
expects.  The C_LOC functionality is not far away from this requirement and
the ASYNCHRONOUS attribute also avoids any copying of the actual argument.

Best regards

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