17.3.1. MPI_T

Open MPI’s MPI_T interface - General information DESCRIPTION

There are a few Open MPI-specific notes worth mentioning about its MPI_T interface implementation. MPI_T Control Variables

Open MPI’s implementation of the MPI_T Control Variable (“cvar”) APIs is an interface to Open MPI’s underlying Modular Component Architecture (MCA) parameters/variables. Simply put: using the MPI_T cvar interface is another mechanism to get/set Open MPI MCA parameters.

In order of precedence (highest to lowest), Open MPI provides the following mechanisms to set MCA parameters:

  1. The MPI_T interface has the highest precedence. Specifically: values set via the MPI_T interface will override all other settings.

  2. The mpirun(1) / mpiexec(1) command line (e.g., via the –mca parameter).

  3. Environment variables.

  4. Parameter files have the lowest precedence. Specifically: values set via parameter files can be overridden by any of the other MCA-variable setting mechanisms. MPI initialization

An application may use the MPI_T interface before MPI is initialized to set MCA parameters. Setting MPI-level MCA parameters before MPI is initialized may affect how MPI is initialized (e.g., by influencing which frameworks and components are selected).

The following example sets the pml and btl MCA params before invoking MPI_Init in order to force a specific selection of PML and BTL components:

int provided, index, count;
MPI_T_cvar_handle pml_handle, btl_handle;
char pml_value[64], btl_value[64];

MPI_T_init_thread(MPI_THREAD_SINGLE, &provided);

MPI_T_cvar_get_index("pml", &index);
MPI_T_cvar_handle_alloc(index, NULL, &pml_handle, &count);
MPI_T_cvar_write(pml_handle, "ob1");

MPI_T_cvar_get_index("btl", &index);
MPI_T_cvar_handle_alloc(index, NULL, &btl_handle, &count);
MPI_T_cvar_write(btl_handle, "tcp,vader,self");

MPI_T_cvar_read(pml_handle, pml_value);
MPI_T_cvar_read(btl_handle, btl_value);
printf("Set value of cvars: PML: %s, BTL: %s\n",
       pml_value, btl_value);



// ...



Note that once MPI is initialized, most Open MPI cvars become read-only.

For example, after MPI is initialized, it is no longer possible to set the PML and BTL selection mechanisms. This is because many of these MCA parameters are only used during MPI initialization; setting them after MPI has already been initialized would be meaningless, anyway. MPI_T Categories

Open MPI’s MPI_T categories are organized hierarchically:

  1. Layer (or “project”). There are two layers in Open MPI:

    • ompi: This layer contains cvars, pvars, and sub categories related to MPI characteristics.

    • opal: This layer generally contains cvars, pvars, and sub categories of lower-layer constructions, such as operating system issues, networking issues, etc.

  2. Framework or section.

    • In most cases, the next level in the hierarchy is the Open MPI MCA framework.

      • For example, you can find the btl framework under the opal layer (because it has to do with the underlying networking).

      • Additionally, the pml framework is under the ompi layer (because it has to do with MPI semantics of point-to-point messaging).

    • There are a few non-MCA-framework entities under the layer, however.

      • For example, there is an mpi section under both the opal and ompi layers for general/core MPI constructs.

  3. Component.

    • If relevant, the third level in the hierarchy is the MCA component.

    • For example, the tcp component can be found under the opal framework in the opal layer.