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Early Experience with Message-Passing on the SHRIMP Multicomputer

Report ID:
December 1995
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The SHRIMP multicomputer provides virtual memory-mapped
communication (VMMC), which supports protected, user-level message
passing, allows user programs to perform their own buffer management,
and separates data transfers from control transfers so that a data
transfer can be done without the intervention of the receiving node
CPU. An important question is whether such a mechanism can indeed
deliver all of the available
hardware performance to applications which use
conventional message-passing libraries.
This paper reports our early experience with message-passing on a
small, working SHRIMP multicomputer. We have implemented several
user-level communication libraries on top of the VMMC mechanism,
including the NX message-passing interface, Sun RPC, stream sockets, and
specialized RPC. The first three are fully compatible with existing
systems. Our experience shows that the VMMC mechanism supports these
message-passing interfaces well.
When zero-copy protocols are allowed by the semantics of
the interface, it can effectively deliver to applications
almost all of the raw hardware's communication performance.

This technical report has been published as
Early Experience with Message-Passing on the SHRIMP
Edward W. Felten, Richard D. Alpert, Angelos Bilas, Matthias
A. Blumrich, Douglas W. Clark, Stefanos Damianakis,
Cezary Dubnicki, Liviu Iftode and Kai Li,
Proc. 23rd Internat. Symposium on Computer
, Philadelphia, May 1996,
pp. 296-307.
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