EdHill

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Ed Hill

I'm a Fedora Extras volunteer mostly interested in scientific computing, data acquisition and analysis, parallel computing and clusters, and related topics. I think Fedora is a good platform for these activities and would like to see it improve with the addition of more easy-to-use packages. For further discussion, please see the Fedora ["Extras/SIGs/SciTech"] .

Contact info:

Things I currently maintain include:

People I've sponsored:

  • KevinCole
  • RolandDreier
  • DawidGajownik
  • SergioPascual
  • SimonPerreault
  • GarrickStaples
  • MatthewTruch

Things that I'd like to improve are:

  • the availability of various C/C++/Fortran numerical libs
  • the MPI situation
  • overall, package more of the bits that I frequently use


Proposal for Improving MPI support in Fedora

Observation:

People are increasingly using MPI to solve scientific and engineering problems. While its still a niche market, its steadily growing. Networks of workstations and small clusters have become quite common. And cheaper computers is only making it more common.

Goal:

It would be nice to provide, through Fedora Extras, a few different MPI implementations which can be installed with a single command

yum install mpich2 openmpi ...

and then operate them side-by-side without worries about conflicts. In my opinion, there are no good reasons why Fedora users should be "stuck" with LAM and forced to fight with from-source builds for other MPI implementations. We easily can and therefor should do better!

Proposal:

On a large number sites (ranging from "supercomputing centers" right through through medium and small cluster installs), admins have adopted the "modules" or environment-modules software to easily and gracefully handle situations with multiple simultaneous installs of various compilers and/or libraries. The environment-modules system has proven itself to be a solid, general, workable, and extensible framework. While I don't suggest that Fedora (or even Fedora Extras) adopt environment-modules wholesale for all sorts of problems, the simultaneus installation of multiple MPI implementatons is a situation that just begs for an environment-modules solution.

The alternatives approach suggested by others is, in my opionion, clearly inferior to environment-modules since:

  • where does one put the man pages for each implementaton?
  • the alternatives setup is NOT easily extended to multiple different compilers
  • alternatives has the concept of one implementation being preferred to all others and this is unnecessary/pointless in the context of multiple MPI implemations

With the recent addition of environment-modules to Fedora Extras, I'd like to see it used to solve the current multiple-MPI-implementations deadlock.