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Subject: Re: [OMPI users] data types and alignment to word boundary
From: Gus Correa (gus_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-06-29 15:52:46

Hi Jody

jody wrote:
> Guys - Thank You for your replies!
> (wow : that was a rhyme! :) )
> I checked my structure with the offsetof macro on my laptop at home
> and found the following offsets:
> offs iSpeciesID: 0
> offs sCapacityFile: 2
> offs adGParams: 68
> total size 100
> so there seems to be a 2 byte gap before the double array;
> and this machine seems to prefer multiples of 4.

A 32-bit laptop perhaps?
I would guess the offsets are machine and compiler dependent,
and optimization flags may matter.

> But is this alignment problem not also a danger for heterogeneous clusters
> using OpenMPI?

Do you mean danger or excitement? :)
If the doubles and shorts and long longs have different sizes on
each of two heterogeneous nodes, what could MPI do about them anyway?

> I guess the only portable solution is to forget about MPI Data types and
> somehow pack or serialize the data before sending and unpack/deserialize
> after receiving it.

Jeff may have a heart attack when he reads what you just wrote about
the usefulness of MPI data types vs. packing/unpacking. :)

Guessing away, I would think you are focusing on memory/space savings,
rather than on performance.
Maybe memory/space savings is part of your code requirements.

However, have you tried instead to explicitly pad your structure,
say, to a multiple of the size of your largest intrinsic type,
which double in your case, or perhaps to a multiple of the natural
memory alignment boundary that your computer/compiler likes (which may
be 8 bytes, 16 bytes, 128 bytes, whatever).
I never did this comparison, but I would guess the padded version
of the code would run faster (if compiled with '-align' type of flag
and friends).

Anyway, C is a foreign language here, I must say.

Just my unwarranted guesses.

Gus Correa

> On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 6:18 PM, Gus Correa <gus_at_[hidden]> wrote:
>> jody wrote:
>>> Hi
>>> I have noticed on my machine that a struct which i have defined as
>>> typedef struct {
>>> short iSpeciesID;
>>> char sCapacityFile[SHORT_INPUT];
>>> double adGParams[NUM_GPARAMS];
>>> } tVStruct;
>>> (where SHORT_INPUT=64 and NUM_GPARAMS=4)
>>> has size 104 (instead of 98) whereas the corresponding MPI Datatype i
>>> created
>>> int aiLengthsT5[3] = {1, SHORT_INPUT, NUM_GPARAMS};
>>> MPI_Aint aiDispsT5[3] = {0, iShortSize, iShortSize+SHORT_INPUT};
>>> MPI_Type_create_struct(3, aiLengthsT5, aiDispsT5, aTypesT5,
>>> &m_dtVegetationData3);
>>> MPI_Type_commit(&m_dtVegetationData3);
>>> only has length 98 (as expected). The size differences resulted in an
>>> error when doing
>>> tVegetationData3 VD;
>>> MPI_Send(&VD, 1, m_dtVegetationData3, 1, TAG_STEP_CMD, MPI_COMM_WORLD);
>>> and the corresponding
>>> tVegetationData3 VD;
>>> MPI_Recv(&VD, 1, m_dtVegetationData3, MPI_ANY_SOURCE,
>>> (in fact, the last double in my array was not transmitted correctly)
>>> It seems that on my machine the struct was padded to a multiple of 8.
>>> By manually adding some padding bytes to my MPI Datatype in order
>>> to fill it up to the next multiple of 8 i could work around this problem.
>>> (not very nice, and very probably not portable)
>>> My question: is there a way to tell MPI to automatically use the
>>> required padding?
>>> Thank You
>>> Jody
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> users mailing list
>>> users_at_[hidden]
>> Hi Jody
>> My naive guesses:
>> I think when you create the MPI structure you can pass the
>> byte displacement of each structure component.
>> You would need to modify your aiDispsT5[3], to match the
>> actual memory alignment, I guess.
>> Yes, indeed portability may be sacrificed.
>> There is some clarification in "MPI, The Complete Reference, Vol 1,
>> 2nd Ed, Marc Snir et al.".
>> Section 3.2 and 3.3 (general on type map & type signature).
>> Section 3.4.8 MPI_Type_create_struct (examples, specially 3.13).
>> Section 3.10, on portability, doesn't seem to guarantee portability of
>> MPI_Type_Struct.
>> I hope this helps,
>> Gus Correa
>> _______________________________________________
>> users mailing list
>> users_at_[hidden]
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