Generalized communicators in the message passing interface

Erik D. Demaine, Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman, Marc Snir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose extensions to the Message Passing Interface (MPI) that generalize the MPI communicator concept to allow multiple communication endpoints per process, dynamic creation of endpoints, and the transfer of endpoints between processes. The generalized communicator construct can be used to express a wide range of interesting communication structures, including collective communication operations involving multiple threads per process, communications between dynamically created threads or processes, and object-oriented applications in which communications are directed to specific objects. Furthermore, this enriched functionality can be provided in a manner that preserves backward compatibility with MPI. We describe the proposed extensions, illustrate their use with examples, and describe a prototype implementation in the popular MPI implementation MPICH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-616
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • MPI
  • Multithreading
  • Process names
  • Process spawning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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