[Numpy-discussion] ANN: DistArray 0.2 -- first public development release

Kurt Smith ksmith at enthought.com
Wed Apr 23 13:58:21 EDT 2014

GitHub repo: https://github.com/enthought/distarray

Documentation: http://distarray.readthedocs.org

License: Three-clause BSD

Python versions: 2.7 and 3.3

OS support: *nix and Mac OS X

DistArray aims to bring the strengths of NumPy to data-parallel
high-performance computing.  It provides distributed multi-dimensional
NumPy-like arrays and distributed ufuncs, distributed IO capabilities, and
can integrate with external distributed libraries, like Trilinos.
 DistArray works with NumPy and builds on top of it in a flexible and
natural way.

Brian Granger started DistArray as a NASA-funded SBIR project in 2008.
 Enthought picked it up as part of a DOE Phase II SBIR [0] to provide a
generally useful distributed array package.  It builds on IPython,
IPython.parallel, NumPy, MPI, and interfaces with the Trilinos suite of
distributed HPC solvers (via PyTrilinos) [1].



   has a client-engine (or master-worker) process design -- data resides on
   the worker processes, commands are initiated from master;

   allows full control over what is executed on the worker processes and
   integrates transparently with the master process;

   allows direct communication between workers bypassing the master process
   for scalability;

   integrates with IPython.parallel for interactive creation and
   exploration of distributed data;

   supports distributed ufuncs (currently without broadcasting);

   builds on and leverages MPI via MPI4Py in a transparent and
   user-friendly way;

   supports NumPy-like structured multidimensional arrays;

   has basic support for unstructured arrays;

   supports user-controllable array distributions across workers (block,
   cyclic, block-cyclic, and unstructured) on a per-axis basis;

   has a straightforward API to control how an array is distributed;

   has basic plotting support for visualization of array distributions;

   separates the array’s distribution from the array’s data -- useful for
   slicing, reductions, redistribution, broadcasting, all of which will be
   implemented in coming releases;

   implements distributed random arrays;

   supports `.npy`-like flat-file IO and hdf5 parallel IO (via h5py);
   leverages MPI-based IO parallelism in an easy-to-use and transparent way;

   supports the distributed array
which allows independently developed parallel libraries to share
   distributed arrays without copying, analogous to the PEP-3118 new buffer

This is the first public development release.  DistArray is not ready for
real-world use, but we want to get input from the larger scientific-Python
community to help drive its development.  The API is changing rapidly and
we are adding many new features on a fast timescale.  For that reason,
DistArray is currently implemented in pure Python for maximal flexibility.
 Performance improvements are coming.

The 0.2 release's goals are to provide the components necessary to support
upcoming features that are non-trivial to implement in a distributed

Planned features for upcoming releases:


   Distributed reductions

   Distributed slicing

   Distributed broadcasting

   Distributed fancy indexing

   Re-distribution methods

   Integration with Trilinos [1] and other packages [3] that are compatible
   with the distributed array protocol [2]

   Lazy evaluation and deferred computation for latency hiding

   Out-of-core computations

   Extensive examples, tutorials, documentation

   Support for distributed sorting and other non-trivial distributed

   MPI-only communication for non-interactive deployment on clusters and

   End-user control over communication, temporary array creation, and other
   performance aspects of distributed computations

[0] http://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/410257

[1] http://trilinos.org/

[2] http://distributed-array-protocol.readthedocs.org/en/rel-0.10.0/

[3] http://www.mcs.anl.gov/petsc/

Kurt W. Smith, Ph.D. <ksmith at enthought.com>
Enthought, Inc. <http://www.enthought.com>  | 512.536.1057
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