[Mpi3-rma] [EXTERNAL] Re: Disp_unit in allocate_shared should be returned by win_shared_query?

William Gropp wgropp at illinois.edu
Thu Jul 26 09:29:40 CDT 2012

Thanks for the support :)

I too vote for #2.  I note that applications do not need to use the disp_unit in accessing data under this model, but will need it if they are acting to replace PUT etc (as they might if the code is designed to work with and without shared memory).


William Gropp
Director, Parallel Computing Institute
Deputy Director for Research
Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies
Paul and Cynthia Saylor Professor of Computer Science
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

On Jul 25, 2012, at 2:16 PM, Torsten Hoefler wrote:

> Hi Jim,
> Bill's argument convinced me, I think we should have the displ_unit in
> the query function because this would support future systems and comes
> at essentially no cost. If the unit is the same on all processes, it can
> be stored. This can be determined in O(log(P)) or O(1) time with an info
> argument. Compression is trivial.
>> We should try to reach a decision on this issue before the end of the  
>> week.  I think it would be helpful to hear some other opinions.  So far,  
>> we have three options to choose from:
>> 1) Require that the displacement unit be the same at all processes for  
>> MPI_Win_allocate_shared().
> This would never allow us to run across heterogeneous systems. I don't
> know any heterogeneous system that supports the unified model but GPUs
> are coming :-). I agree to Jim that coherency would be tricky, so this
> hardware is unlikely. We could also always lift this restriction in
> future MPI versions, so I'm not opposed.
>> 2) Allow different displacement units at each process in shared memory  
>> windows and allow processes to determine the displacement unit at remote  
>> processes via MPI_Win_shared_query().  This is in addition to the MPI-2  
>> self-query already possible with MPI_Win_get_attr(MPI_WIN_DISP_UNIT).
> Yes, this is what we have at this point.
>> 3) Allow different displacement units at each process in shared memory  
>> windows and provide only the MPI-2 self-query already possible with  
>> MPI_Win_get_attr(MPI_WIN_DISP_UNIT).  Manual communication would be  
>> needed to exchange disp_unit information.
> This would require a wording change.
>> A (very) rough summary of the discussion on this issue:
>> * Given that non-uniform disp_unit values are currently allowed,  
>> processes may need to use disp_unit in address calculations.
> They may check if all processes' disp_unit is the same, but that's
> another complication in the interface.
>> * Requiring programmers to use the disp_unit at each process in address 
>> calculations diminishes the usefulness of the shared memory programming 
>> model.  It's also not clear if there is a use case to support the 
>> non-uniform disp_unit model.
> Agreed.
> I vote for #2.
> Best,
>  Torsten
> -- 
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