How to Use MPI

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This will give you a general overview of how to compile and execute a program that has been parallelized with MPI. Many of the options listed below are the same for both Open MPI and Intel MPI, however, be care if they do differentiate.

Loading the Correct Modules

Open MPI

To ensure that the Open MPI module is loaded, check the output of the following command:

$ module list

In case it has not been loaded yet, type

$ module load openmpi

If you are currently using Intel MPI, type

$ module switch intelmpi openmpi

Intel MPI

Look for "intelmpi" in the output of this command:

$ module list

In case it did not appear in the output, you have to load the module by typing

$ module load intelmpi

If Open MPI has already been loaded, switch to Intel MPI like this:

$ module switch openmpi intelmpi

How to Compile MPI Code

There are several so called MPI "compiler wrappers", e.g. "mpicc". These take care of including the necessary libraries etc. for you. But they share most command line options. Depending on whether your code is written in C, C++ or Fortran, follow the instructions in one of the tables below. Make sure to replace the arguments inside <…> with specific values.

Open MPI

Use the following command to specify the program you would like to compile (replace <src_file> with a path to your code, e. g. ./myprog.c).

Language Command
C $ mpicc <src_file> -o <name_of_executable>
C++ $ mpicxx <src_file> -o <name_of_executable
Fortran $ mpifort <src_file> -o <name_of_executable>

You can also type the command $ mpicc [options], $ mpicxx [options] or $ mpifort [options]. There are a few options that come with Open MPI, however, options are more important for running your program. The compiler options might be useful to fetch more information about the Open MPI module you're using.

Options Function
-showme:help print a short help message about the usage and lists all compiler options
-showme:version show Open MPI version

For RWTH cluster users: Instead of typing the compiler wrapper mpicc etc., you can simply put one of the environment variables $MPICC, $MPICXX or $MPIFC for Fortran codes. They are already set by the module system are you do not have to worry about which compiler module to use.

Intel MPI

Use the following command to specify the program you would like to compile (replace <src_file> with a path to your code, e. g. ./myprog.c).

Compiler Driver C C++ Fortran
GCC $ mpicc <src_file> -o <name> $ mpicpc <src_file> -o <name> $ mpifort <src_file> -o <name>
Intel $ mpiicc <src_file> -o <name> $ mpiicpc <src_file> -o <name> $ mpiifort <src_file> -o <name>

How to Run an MPI Executable

Ensure that your the correct MPI module is loaded (see here).

Don’t forget to put the “-np” or “-n” option as explained below. All the other options listed below are not mandatory.

Option Function
-np <num_procs> or -n <num_procs> number of processes to run
-path <path> look for executables in the directory specified
-q or –quiet suppress helpful messages
-output-filename <name> redirects output into the file <name>.<rank>
--help lists all options available with an explanation