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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : EPCC on-campus

Postgraduate Course: Advanced Message-Passing Programming (EPCC11012)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryModern parallel supercomputers are predominantly programmed using the Message-Passing Interface (MPI) library. Learning the basic MPI syntax and writing medium-scale programs is relatively straightforward, but many issues only arise when tackling large-scale problems on thousands of processes. Typical issues include deadlock, poor scalability or inefficient file IO.

There are two basic ways to address these issues. The fundamental MPI calls can be used in more sophisticated ways, which requires an in-depth understanding of the finer details of the MPI standard and its implementation in real libraries. Alternatively, different approaches can be used which employ advanced MPI functionality or which exploit the shared-memory nature of modern multicore compute nodes. Before any correctness or performance issues can be addressed they must first be diagnosed, so knowledge of parallel profiling and debugging is essential.
Course description The course will cover the following topics:
- Advanced derived datatypes
- Advanced collective operations & user-defined reduction operations
- Advanced virtual topologies
- Neighbourhood collective operations
- Persistent communication requests
- One-sided operations
- MPI shared-memory
- Hybrid programming
- Parallel IO
- MPI Internals
- Tools for MPI
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Message-Passing Programming (EPCC11002) OR Message-passing Programming (INFR11163)) AND ( Threaded Programming (EPCC11003) OR Threaded Programming (INFR11178))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites- Functional knowledge of C or FORTRAN is mandatory.
- Functional knowledge of Message-Passing Programming / MPI is mandatory.
- Functional knowledge of Threaded programming / OpenMP is recommended.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  84
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 5, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 48 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework via 10 weekly class tests
Feedback Via practical classes, discussions in lectures and class tests.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe the various factors that limit performance in large-scale message-passing applications
  2. Apply knowledge of the design and implementation of the MPI library to optimise the performance of parallel programs
  3. Use advanced MPI functionality to exploit the architectural features of modern HPC systems
  4. Implement efficient parallel approaches for general unstructured problems
  5. Compare the pros and cons of different approaches to parallel IO
Reading List
"Using Advanced MPI: Modern Features of the Message-Passing Interface", William Gropp, Torsten Hoefler, Rajeev Thakur and Ewing Lusk.

Any further material provided via Learn/Leganto
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Ability to address complex problems using methodical approaches.
Application of learning.
Ability to understand and apply technical documentation.
Parallel Programming
KeywordsAdvanced MPI,MPI,Parallelism,EPCC,HPC,Message-passing,Programming,High Performance Computing
Course organiserMr Ludovic Capelli
Tel: (01316) 506709
Course secretaryMr James Richards
Tel: 90131 6)51 3578
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