Thanks for the comments. Responses below.

Terry D. Dontje wrote:
I think the concept is a good idea.  A few questions that come to mind:

1. Do you have a set of APIs you plan on supporting?
Do you mean the RSL API? Or do you mean the APIs of alternative runtime systems?

The rsl API is in https://svn.open-mpi.org/svn/ompi/tmp/rsl/ompi/mca/rsl/rsl.h

As far as other runtime systems, I have not looked too much at what others support. However, I am trying to make the APIs in the RSL as generic as possible.

2.  Are you planning on adding new APIs (not currently supported by ORTE)?
Not in the sense of new functionality, but some of the APIs are quite different then ORTE is currently using.

3.  Do any of the ORTE replacement APIs differ in how they work?
Well, every runtime does things differently.

For instance, looking at the MPICH PMI interface (which is sort-of their version of the RSL), they make heavy use of a key-value space. For the RSL, I am using process attributes which are similar in concept to this, but do work slightly differently.

Another difference is that the RSL exposes a out of band communication interface, which is not provided by the PMI. So if we used a runtime that was based on the PMI, then we would have to do our own out-of-band communication within the RSL component.

4.  Will RSL change in how we access information from the GPR?  If not
     how does this layer really separate us from ORTE?
Yes, although there is already a layer of abstraction here since the GPR usage in OMPI all goes through the modex code.

So what would happen with the RSL would be that the modex send/recv would be called, which would then call the process attribute send/recv code. Alternatively, the process attribute system could be called directly.

The process attribute system in the RSL would then use whatever implementation specific system it wants to exchange the data.

5.  How will RSL handle OOB functionality (routing of messages)?
That is up to the rsl implementation. An out-of-band interface is provided, and it is the components job to make sure the message is delivered.

6.  How does making the process names opaque differ from how ORTE
names processes? Do you still need a global namespace for a "universe"?
Again, it is up to the implementation. OMPI assumes that all process names it sees uniquely identify a remote process. In this sense, a global process namespace would need be needed. But if the rsl wanted to do some trickery to avoid the need for a global namespace, it probably could.

I like the idea but I really wonder if this will even be half-baked in time for
1.3  (same concern as Jeff's).



Tim Prins wrote:

WHAT: Solicitation of feedback on the possibility of adding a runtime services layer to Open MPI to abstract out the runtime.

WHY: To solidify the interface between OMPI and the runtime environment, and to allow the use of different runtime systems, including different versions of ORTE.

WHERE: Addition of a new framework to OMPI, and changes to many of the files in OMPI to funnel all runtime request through this framework. Few changes should be required in OPAL and ORTE.

WHEN: Development has started in tmp/rsl, but is still in its infancy. We hope to have a working system in the next month.

TIMEOUT: 8/29/07

Short version:

I am working on creating an interface between OMPI and the runtime system. This would make a RSL framework in OMPI which all runtime services would be accessed from. Attached is a graphic depicting this.

This change would be invasive to the OMPI layer. Few (if any) changes will be required of the ORTE and OPAL layers.

At this point I am soliciting feedback as to whether people are supportive or not of this change both in general and for v1.3.

Long version:

The current model used in Open MPI assumes that one runtime system is the best for all environments. However, in many environments it may be beneficial to have specialized runtime systems. With our current system this is not easy to do.

With this in mind, the idea of creating a 'runtime services layer' was hatched. This would take the form of a framework within OMPI, through which all runtime functionality would be accessed. This would allow new or different runtime systems to be used with Open MPI. Additionally, with such a
system it would be possible to have multiple versions of open rte coexisting,
which may facilitate development and testing. Finally, this would solidify the interface between OMPI and the runtime system, as well as provide documentation and side effects of each interface function.

However, such a change would be fairly invasive to the OMPI layer, and needs a buy-in from everyone for it to be possible.

Here is a summary of the changes required for the RSL (at least how it is currently envisioned):

1. Add a framework to ompi for the rsl, and a component to support orte.
2. Change ompi so that it uses the new interface. This involves:
        a. Moving runtime specific code into the orte rsl component.
        b. Changing the process names in ompi to an opaque object.
        c. change all references to orte in ompi to be to the rsl.
3. Change the configuration code so that open-rte is only linked where needed.

Of course, all this would happen on a tmp branch.

The design of the rsl is not solidified. I have been playing in a tmp branch (located at https://svn.open-mpi.org/svn/ompi/tmp/rsl) which everyone is welcome to look at and comment on, but be advised that things here are subject to change (I don't think it even compiles right now). There are some fairly large open questions on this, including:

1. How to handle mpirun (that is, when a user types 'mpirun', do they always get ORTE, or do they sometimes get a system specific runtime). Most likely mpirun will always use ORTE, and alternative launching programs would be used for other runtimes. 2. Whether there will be any performance implications. My guess is not, but am not quite sure of this yet.

Again, I am interested in people's comments on whether they think adding such abstraction is good or not, and whether it is reasonable to do such a thing for v1.3.


Tim Prins


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