Early experience with message-passing on the SHRIMP multicomputer

Edward William Felten, Richard D. Alpert, Angelos Bilas, Matthias A. Blumrich, Douglas W. Clark, Stefanos N. Damianakis, Cezary Dubnicki, Liviu Iftode, Kai Li

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


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, VMMC can effectively deliver to applications almost all of the raw hardware's communication performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-307
Number of pages12
JournalConference Proceedings - Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA
StatePublished - 1996
EventProceedings of the 1996 23rd Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture - Philadelphia, PA, USA
Duration: May 22 1996May 24 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


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