Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

Active Message Applications Programming Interface and Communication Subsystem Organization

Alan M. Mainwaring and David E. Culler

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/CSD-96-918
October 1996

High-performance network hardware is advancing, with multi-gigabit link bandwidths and sub-microsecond switch latencies. Network-interface hardware also continues to evolve, although the design space remains large and diverse. One critical abstraction, a simple, portable, and general-purpose communications interface, is required to make effective use of these increasingly high-performance networks and their capable interfaces. Without a new interface, the software overheads of existing ones will dominate communication costs, and many applications may not benefit from the advancements in network hardware.

This document specifies a new active message communications interface for these networks. Its primitives, in essence an instruction set for communications, map efficiently onto underlying network hardware and compose effectively into higher-level protocols and applications. For high-performance implementations, the interface enables direct application-network interface interactions. In the common case, for applications exhibiting locality in communication, these interactions bypass the operating system. To enable the construction of large-scale, general-purpose systems, the interface supports the protected multiprogramming of many users onto finite network resources. This document also describes a prototype system that uses the virtual-memory facilities of the Solaris operating system to implement virtual networks that support protected, network multiprogramming. The system caches the active communication endpoints in network-interface memory and demand-pages them between the host and network-interface memories.


BibTeX citation:

@techreport{Mainwaring:CSD-96-918,
    Author = {Mainwaring, Alan M. and Culler, David E.},
    Title = {Active Message Applications Programming Interface and Communication Subsystem Organization},
    Institution = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {1996},
    Month = {Oct},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/1996/5768.html},
    Number = {UCB/CSD-96-918},
    Abstract = {High-performance network hardware is advancing, with multi-gigabit link bandwidths and sub-microsecond switch latencies. Network-interface hardware also continues to evolve, although the design space remains large and diverse. One critical abstraction, a simple, portable, and general-purpose communications interface, is required to make effective use of these increasingly high-performance networks and their capable interfaces. Without a new interface, the software overheads of existing ones will dominate communication costs, and many applications may not benefit from the advancements in network hardware. <p> This document specifies a new active message communications interface for these networks. Its primitives, in essence an instruction set for communications, map efficiently onto underlying network hardware and compose effectively into higher-level protocols and applications. For high-performance implementations, the interface enables direct application-network interface interactions. In the common case, for applications exhibiting locality in communication, these interactions bypass the operating system. To enable the construction of large-scale, general-purpose systems, the interface supports the protected multiprogramming of many users onto finite network resources. This document also describes a prototype system that uses the virtual-memory facilities of the Solaris operating system to implement virtual networks that support protected, network multiprogramming. The system caches the active communication endpoints in network-interface memory and demand-pages them between the host and network-interface memories.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Report
%A Mainwaring, Alan M.
%A Culler, David E.
%T Active Message Applications Programming Interface and Communication Subsystem Organization
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 1996
%@ UCB/CSD-96-918
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/1996/5768.html
%F Mainwaring:CSD-96-918