Process groups communicators
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Process Groups & Communicators. Communicator is a group of processes that can communicate with one another. Can create sub-groups of processes, or sub-communicators Cannot create process groups or sub-communicators from scratch

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Process groups communicators
Process Groups & Communicators

  • Communicator is a group of processes that can communicate with one another.

  • Can create sub-groups of processes, or sub-communicators

  • Cannot create process groups or sub-communicators from scratch

    • Need to create sub-groups or sub-communicators from some existing groups or communicators

    • i.e. need to start from MPI_COMM_WORLD (or MPI_COMM_SELF)

Sub communicators



Process Group


Process sub-group


Communicator process group
Communicator  Process Group

  • MPI_Group is a handle representing a process group in C; in Fortran it is an integer

    • MPI_GROUP_EMPTY, predefined, no member in group

    • MPI_GROUP_NULL, predefined, an invalid handle

  • MPI_COMM_GROUP gets group associated with communicator

int MPI_Comm_group(MPI_Comm comm, MPI_Group *group)




MPI_Group group;

MPI_Comm_group(MPI_COMM_WORLD, &group);


Process groups
Process Groups

  • MPI_Group_size(): number of processes in group

  • MPI_Group_rank(): rank of calling process in group; if does not belong to group, return MPI_UNDEFINED

int MPI_Group_size(MPI_Group group, int *size)

int MPI_Group_rank(MPI_Group group, int *rank)

int ncpus, rank;




MPI_Group_size(MPI_GROUP_WORLD, &ncpus);

MPI_Group_rank(MPI_GROUP_WORLD, &rank);


Group constructor destructor
Group Constructor/Destructor

int MPI_Group_incl(MPI_Group group, int n, int *ranks, MPI_Group *newgroup)

int MPI_Group_excl(MPI_Group group, int n, int *ranks, MPI_Group *newgroup)

int MPI_Group_free(MPI_Group *group);

  • MPI_Group_incl: create a new group newgroup consisting of n processes in group whose ranks are specified in *ranks;

  • MPI_Group_excl: create a new group newgroup consisting of processes from group excluding those n processes specified in *ranks;


int ranks[1];

ranks[0] = 0;


MPI_Group_excl(MPI_GROUP_WORLD, 1, &ranks, &slave);



Process group communicator
Process Group  Communicator

  • Only communicators can be used in communication routines

  • MPI_Comm_create(): create a communicator from a process group

    • group is a sub-group of that associated with comm

    • Collective operation

int MPI_Comm_create(MPI_Comm comm, MPI_Group group, MPI_Comm *newcomm)


MPI_Comm slave_comm;

int ranks[1];

Ranks[0] = 0;


MPI_Group_excl(MPI_GROUP_WORLD, 1, &ranks, &slave);

MPI_Comm_create(MPI_COMM_WORLD, slave, &slave_comm);




Communicator constructors
Communicator Constructors

  • MPI_Comm_dup(): duplicate communicator

    • Same group of processes, but different communication context

    • Communications sent using duplicated comm cannot be received with original comm.

    • Used for writing parallel libraries; will not interfere with user’s communications

  • Collective routine; All processes must call same function

int MPI_Comm_dup(MPI_Comm comm, MPI_Comm *newcomm)

Communicator constructors1
Communicator Constructors

int MPI_Comm_split(MPI_Comm comm, int color, int key, MPI_Comm *newcomm)

  • Partition comm into disjoint sub-communicators, one for each value color

  • Processes providing same color values will belong to the same new communicator newcomm

    • Within newcomm, processes ranked based on key values that are provided

  • color must be non-negative.

    • If MPI_UNDEFINED is provided in color, MPI_COMM_NULL will be returned in newcomm.

int rank, color;

MPI_Comm newcomm;

MPI_Comm_rank(MPI_COMM_WORLD, &rank);

color = rank%3;

MPI_Comm_split(MPI_COMM_WORLD, color, rank, &newcomm);


Process virtual topology
Process Virtual Topology

  • Linear ranking (0, 1, …, N-1) often does not reflect logical communication patterns of processes

  • Desirable to arrange processes logically to reflect the topological patterns underlying the problem geometry or numerical algorithm, e.g. 2D or 3D grids

  • Virtual topology: this logical process arrangement

  • Virtual topology does not reflect machine’s physical topology

  • Can build virtual topology on communicators

Virtual topology
Virtual Topology

  • Communication patterns can be described by a graph in general

    • Nodes stand for processes

    • Edges connect processes that communicate with each other

  • Many applications use process topologies like rings, 2D or high-D grids or tori.

  • MPI provides 2 topology constructors

    • Cartesian topology

    • General graph topology

Cartesian topology
Cartesian Topology

  • n-dimensional Cartesian topology

    • (m1, m2, m3, …, mn) grid; mi is the number of processes in i-th direction

    • A process can be represented by its coordinate (j1, j2, j3, …, jn), where 0<=js<=ms

  • Constructor: MPI_Cart_create()

  • Translation:

    • Process rank  coordinate

    • Coordinate  process rank

Cartesian constructor
Cartesian Constructor

Int MPI_Cart_create(MPI_Comm comm_old, int ndims, int *dims, int *periods, int reorder, MPI_Comm *comm_cart)

  • comm_old: existing communicator

  • ndims: dimension of Cartesian topology

  • dims: vector, dimension [ndims], number of processes in each direction

  • periods: vector, dimension [ndims], true or false, priodic or not in each direction

  • reorder: truemay reorder rank; false, no re-ordering of ranks

  • comm_cart: new communicator with Cartesian topology

MPI_Comm comm_new;

int dims[2], periods[2], ncpus;

MPI_Comm_size(MPI_COMM_WORLD, &ncpus);

dims[0] = 2;

dims[1] = ncpus/2; // assume ncpus dividable by 2

periods[0] = periods[1] = 1;

MPI_Cart_create(MPI_COMM_WORLD, 2, dims, periods, 0, &comm_new);


Topology inquiry functions
Topology Inquiry Functions

int MPI_Cartdim_get(MPI_Comm comm, int *ndims)

int MPI_Cart_coords(MPI_Comm comm, int rank, int maxdims, int *coords)

int MPI_Cart_rank(MPI_Comm, int *coords, int *rank)

  • MPI_Cartdim_get returns the dimension of Cartesian topology

  • MPI_Cart_coords returns the coordinates of a process of rank

  • MPI_Cart_rank returns of the rank of a process with coordinate *coords

MPI_Comm comm_cart;

int ndims, rank, *coords;

... // create Cartesian topology on comm_cart

MPI_Comm_rank(comm_cart, &rank);

MPI_Cartdim_get(comm_cart, &ndims);

coords = new int[ndims];

MPI_Cart_coords(comm_cart, rank, ndims, coords); // coords contains coord


for(int i=0;i<ndims;i++) coords[i] = 0;

MPI_Cart_rank(comm_cart, coords, &rank);