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MPI for .NET

by Jonathan Allen on Jan 23, 2008 |

MPI or Message Passing Interface is the standard for distributed programming such as that used in supercomputers and implementations can be found for FORTRAN, C, and C++. There are several projects in the works to bring that power to .NET. Today we look at two of them.

The first is Pure Mpi.NET. This implementation is written entirely in managed code and heavily leverages the Windows Communication Foundation. It also changes the API to better match the .NET style of framework writing, leaving one to wonder if there is anything left of MPI in Pure Mpi.NET.

Pure Mpi.NET has another flaw; its licensing agreement is rather onerous. The license is only granted to non-profit organizations such as schools and individuals. For profit companies are explicitly from using the library.

The next is MPI.NET. This is an open source project based on Boost.MPI. Though currently a technology preview, the API is already well documented. In addition to not being production grade, MPI.NET is tied to Microsoft's MPI implementation, MS-MPI. This means that production systems will have to run Microsoft Compute Cluster Server 2003 at 469 USD/server.

When one looks at the sorry state of MPI support on the .NET platform, it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long to catch up to languages like FORTRAN for distributed programming.

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MPI for .NET by the dude

Catch up to FORTRAN? Are you serious? FORTRAN has been dead for a looong time. .NET is here, it's not going anywhere, and is the platform of the future. It's great for distributed systems, but lacks some things for distributed parallel programming. It doesn't have a single program / multiple data parallel model, and these implementations fill in that gap.

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