Argonne National Laboratory

To INT_MAX…and beyond! Exploring Large-Count Support in MPI

TitleTo INT_MAX…and beyond! Exploring Large-Count Support in MPI
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHammond, JR, Schafer, A, Latham, R
Conference Name2014 Workshop on Exascale MPI
Other NumbersANL/MCS-P5210-1014
AbstractIn order to describe a structured region of memory, the routines in the MPI standard use a (count, datatype) pair. The C specification for this convention uses an int type for the count. Since C int types are nearly always 32 bits large and signed, counting more than 231 elements poses a challenge. Instead of changing the existing MPI routines, and all consumers of those routines, the MPI Forum asserts that users can build up large datatypes from smaller types. To evaluate this hypothesis and to provide a user-friendly solution to the large-count issue, we have developed BigMPI, a library on top of MPI that maps large-count MPI-like functions to MPI-3 standard features. BigMPI demonstrates a way to perform such a construction, reveals shortcomings of the MPI standard, and uncovers bugs in MPI implementations.