13.6. Troubleshooting


This section represents old content from the <= v4.x FAQ that has not been properly converted to the new-style documentation. The content here was perfunctorily converted to RST, but it still needs to be:

  1. Converted from a question-and-answer style to a regular documentation style (like the rest of these docs).

  2. Removed from this section and folded into other sections in these docs.

To be clear, this section will eventually be deleted; do not write any new content in this section.

13.6.1. I see strange messages about missing symbols in my application; what do these mean?

Open MPI loads a lot of plugins (sometimes called “components” or “modules”) at run time. Sometimes a plugin can fail to load because it can’t resolve all the symbols that it needs. There are a few reasons why this can happen.

  • The plugin is for a different version of Open MPI. See this section for an explanation of how Open MPI might try to open the “wrong” plugins.

  • An application is trying to manually dynamically open libmpi in a private symbol space. For example, if an application is not linked against libmpi, but rather calls something like this:

    /* This is a Linux example -- the issue is similar/the same on other
       operating systems */
    handle = dlopen("libmpi.so", RTLD_NOW | RTLD_LOCAL);

    This is due to some deep run time linker voodoo — it is discussed towards the end of this post to the Open MPI developer’s list. Briefly, the issue is this:

    1. The dynamic library libmpi is opened in a “local” symbol space.

    2. MPI_INIT is invoked, which tries to open Open MPI’s plugins.

    3. Open MPI’s plugins rely on symbols in libmpi (and other Open MPI support libraries); these symbols must be resolved when the plugin is loaded.

    4. However, since libmpi was opened in a “local” symbol space, its symbols are not available to the plugins that it opens.

    5. Hence, the plugin fails to load because it can’t resolve all of its symbols, and displays a warning message to that effect.

    The ultimate fix for this issue is a bit bigger than Open MPI, unfortunately — it’s a POSIX issue (as briefly described in the devel mailing list posting, above).

    However, there are several common workarounds:

    • Dynamically open libmpi in a public / global symbol scope — not a private / local scope. This will enable libmpi’s symbols to be available for resolution when Open MPI dynamically opens its plugins.

    • If libmpi is opened as part of some underlying framework where it is not possible to change the private / local scope to a public / global scope, then dynamically open libmpi in a public / global scope before invoking the underlying framework. This sounds a little gross (and it is), but at least the run-time linker is smart enough to not load libmpi twice — but it does keeps libmpi in a public scope.

    • Use the --disable-dlopen or --disable-mca-dso options to Open MPI’s configure script (see this TODO NONEXISTENT FAQ entry for more details on these options). These options slurp all of Open MPI’s plugins up in to libmpi — meaning that the plugins physically reside in libmpi and will not be dynamically opened at run time.

    • Build Open MPI as a static library by configuring Open MPI with --disable-shared and --enable-static. This has the same effect as --disable-dlopen, but it also makes libmpi.a (as opposed to a shared library).

13.6.2. How do I attach a parallel debugger to my MPI job?


TODO Need to update this with PMIx debugger info.

13.6.3. How do I find out what MCA parameters are being seen/used by my job?

MCA parameters are the “life’s blood” of Open MPI. MCA parameters are used to control both detailed and large-scale behavior of Open MPI and are present throughout the code base.

This raises an important question: since MCA parameters can be set from a file, the environment, the command line, and even internally within Open MPI, how do I actually know what MCA params my job is seeing, and their value?

One way, of course, is to use the ompi_info command, which is documented elsewhere (you can use man ompi_info, or ompi_info --help to get more info on this command). However, this still doesn’t fully answer the question since ompi_info isn’t an MPI process.

To help relieve this problem, Open MPI provides the MCA parameter mpi_show_mca_params that directs the MPI_COMM_WORLD rank 0 process to report the name of MCA parameters, their current value as seen by that process, and the source that set that value. The parameter can take several values that define which MCA parameters to report:

  • all: report all MCA params. Note that this typically generates a rather long list of parameters since it includes all of the default parameters defined inside Open MPI

  • default: MCA params that are at their default settings - i.e., all MCA params that are at the values set as default within Open MPI

  • file: MCA params that had their value set by a file

  • api: MCA params set using Open MPI’s internal APIs, perhaps to override an incompatible set of conditions specified by the user

  • enviro: MCA params that obtained their value either from the local environment or the command line. Open MPI treats environmental and command line parameters as equivalent, so there currently is no way to separate these two sources

These options can be combined in any order by separating them with commas.

Here is an example of the output generated by this parameter:

shell$ mpirun --mca mpi_show_mca_params enviro hello_c
[local-hostname:12345] mpi_show_mca_params=enviro (environment)
Hello, World, I am 0 of 1

Note that several MCA parameters set by Open MPI itself for internal uses are displayed in addition to the ones actually set by the user.

Since the output from this option can be long, and since it can be helpful to have a more permanent record of the MCA parameters used for a job, a companion MCA parameter mpi_show_mca_params_file is provided. If mpi_show_mca_params_file is also set, the output listing of MCA parameters will be directed into the specified file instead of being printed to stdout. For example:

shell$ mpirun --mca mpi_show_mca_params enviro \
    --mca mpi_show_mca_param_file /tmp/foo.txt hello_c
Hello, World, I am 0 of 1
shell$ cat /tmp/foo.txt
# This file was automatically generated on Sun Feb  7 14:34:31 2021
# by MPI_COMM_WORLD rank 0 (out of a total of 16) on savbu-usnic-a
mpi_show_mca_params=enviro (environment)
mpi_show_mca_params_file=/tmp/foo.txt (environment)