External libraries and packages

Other libraries and packages may also make use of MPI. There are several concerns to ensure things are set up correctly.

Binary requirements

You need to ensure that external libraries are built correctly. In particular, if you are using a system-provided MPI backend in Julia, you also need to use the same system-provided binary for all packages and external libraries you use.

Passing MPI handles via ccall

When passing MPI.jl handle objects (MPI.Comm, MPI.Info, etc) to C/C++ functions via ccall, you should pass the object directly as an argument, and specify the argument type as either the underlying handle type (MPI.MPI_Comm, MPI.MPI_Info, etc.), or a pointer (Ptr{MPI.MPI_Comm}, Ptr{MPI.MPI_Info}, etc.). This will internally handle the unwrapping, but ensure that a reference is kept to avoid premature garbage collection.

For example the C function signatures

int cfunc1(MPI_Comm comm);
int cfunc2(MPI_Comm * comm);

would be called as

ccall((:cfunc1, lib), Cint, (MPI.MPI_Comm,), comm)
ccall((:cfunc2, lib), Cint, (Ptr{MPI.MPI_Comm},), comm)

Object finalizers and MPI.Finalize

External libraries may allocate their own MPI handles (e.g., create or duplicate MPI communictors), which need to be cleaned up before MPI is finalized. If these are attached to object finalizers, they may not be guaranteed to be called before MPI.Finalize, which can result in an error upon program exit. (By default, MPI.jl will install an atexit hook that calls MPI.Finalize if it hasn't already been invoked.)

There are two typical solutions to this problem:

  1. Gate the clean up functions behind an MPI.Finalized call, e.g.

    finalizer(obj) do obj
        if !MPI.Finalized
            # call clean up function
  2. Keep track of all such objects, clean them up via MPI.add_finalize_hook!, e.g.

    finalizer(obj) do obj
        # call clean up function
    MPI.add_finalize_hook!(() -> finalize(obj))

    A variant of this is to keep track of all such objects, for example, using a WeakKeyDict, and use a hook to clean them all:

    const REFS = WeakKeyDict{ObjType, Nothing}()
    MPI.add_finalize_hook!() do
        for obj in keys(REFS)
    # for each object `obj`
    finalizer(obj) do obj
        # call clean up function
    REFS[obj] = nothing

Externally initialized MPI

When working with non-Julia libraries or tools, MPI_Init may be invoked in another part of the execution flow and not via MPI.jl's MPI.Init function. This leaves some package-internal settings uninitialized. In this case, you need to call [MPI.run_init_hooks())(@ref) manually to fully initialize MPI.jl. You may also want to consider calling MPI.set_default_error_handler_return().