Publications / Conference Paper

Design of a Portable Implementation of Partitioned Point-to-Point Communication Primitives

Worley, Andrew; Prema Soundararajan, Prema; Schafer, Derek; Bangalore, Purushotham; Grant, Ryan E.; Dosanjh, Matthew D.; Skjellum, Anthony; Ghafoor, Sheikh

The Message Passing Interface (MPI) has been the dominant message passing solution for scientific computing for decades. MPI point-to-point communications are highly efficient mechanisms for process-to-process communication. However, MPI performance is slowed by concurrency protections in the MPI library when processes utilize multiple threads. MPI's current thread-level interface imposes these overheads throughout the library when thread safety is needed. While much work has been done to reduce multithreading overheads in MPI, a solution is needed that reduces the number of messages exchanged in a threaded environment. Partitioned communication is included in the MPI 4.0 standard as an alternative that addresses the challenges of multithreaded communication in MPI today. Partitioned communication reduces overall message volume by creating a buffer-sharing mechanism between threads such that they can indicate when portions of a communication buffer are available to be sent. Separation of the control and data planes in MPI is enabled by allowing persistent initialization and single occurrence message buffer matching from the indication that the data is ready to be sent. This enables the usage of underlying hardware primitives like triggered operations, where commands (destination, size, etc.) can be set up prior to data buffer readiness with readiness triggered by a simple doorbell/counter later. This approach is useful for future development of MPI operations in environments where traditional networking commands can have performance challenges, like accelerators (GPUs, FPGAs). In this paper, we detail the design and implementation of a layered library (built on top of MPI-3.1) and an integrated Open MPI solution that supports the new, MPI-4.0 partitioned communication feature set. The library will enable applications to use currently released MPI implementations and older legacy libraries to provide partitioned communication support while also enabling further exploration of this new communication model in new applications and use cases. We will compare the designs of the library and native Open MPI support, provide performance results and comparisons between the two approaches, and lessons learned from the implementation of partitioned communication in both library and native forms. We find that the native implementation and library have similar performance with a percentage difference under 0.94% in microbenchmarks and performance within 5% for a partitioned communication enabled proxy application.