McMPI – a managed-code message passing interface library for high performance communication in C#
Holmes, Daniel John
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This work endeavours to achieve technology transfer between established best-practice in academic high-performance computing and current techniques in commercial high-productivity computing. It shows that a credible high-performance message-passing communication library, with semantics and syntax following the Message-Passing Interface (MPI) Standard, can be built in pure C# (one of the .Net suite of computer languages). Message-passing has been the dominant paradigm in high-performance parallel programming of distributed-memory computer architectures for three decades. The MPI Standard originally distilled architecture-independent and language-agnostic ideas from existing specialised communication libraries and has since been enhanced and extended. Object-oriented languages can increase programmer productivity, for example by allowing complexity to be managed through encapsulation. Both the C# computer language and the .Net common language runtime (CLR) were originally developed by Microsoft Corporation but have since been standardised by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) and the International Standards Organisation (ISO), which facilitates portability of source-code and compiled binary programs to a variety of operating systems and hardware. Combining these two open and mature technologies enables mainstream programmers to write tightly-coupled parallel programs in a popular standardised object-oriented language that is portable to most modern operating systems and hardware architectures. This work also establishes that a thread-to-thread delivery option increases shared-memory communication performance between MPI ranks on the same node. This suggests that the thread-as-rank threading model should be explicitly specified in future versions of the MPI Standard and then added to existing MPI libraries for use by thread-safe parallel codes. This work also ascertains that the C# socket object suffers from undesirable characteristics that are critical to communication performance and proposes ways of improving the implementation of this object.