Google Summer of Code 2017 Project title " Distributed Component Placement" works for STE||AR Group, Mentors Patricia Grubel, Parsa amini
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generic domain maps
Final_gsoc _proposal.pdf

Google Summer of Code 2017 - Distributed Component Placement

Organization - STE||AR GROUP (HPX Runtime System)

The GSoC'17 project proposal is here

HPX (High Performance Parallelx) - Modern C++ General Purpose Runtime System for applications of any scale with standard Concurrency and Parallelism concepts. Applications written in HPX out-perform OpenMP/MPI.

HPX is an innovative mixture of

  • Global System-wide Address Space (Active Global Address Space).
  • Fine grain Parallelism & lightweight synchronization between user-level threads.
  • Work queue based, Message driven computation.
  • Elegant semantics for working with Distributed Systems.
  • Support for different types of Hardwares such as accelerators(GPGPU),FPGA's,CPU.

HPX has 5 major subsystems

  1. Threading Subsystem
  2. Local Control Objects
  3. Parcelport Layer
  4. Performance Counter
  5. Active Global Address Space (AGAS)


This subsystem represent the user-level hpx threads in the application not an OS thread. It is similar to std::thread! It is really Lightweight because constructing,executing,destructing a user-level thread takes only a 800-900 nanoseconds. Constructing a user-level thread in HPX

void function_to_be_done(int parameter)
  hpx::cout << " function called with "<<parameter;
int main()
   hpx::thread thread_f(&function_to_be_done,100);
   return 0;

HPX Runtime place the User-Level Threads into the work queue and then the user-level threads are executed on the OS threads with the help of task scheduler!


This Subsystem represent constructs for task-launching in HPX runtime and the synchronization between them. Constructs such as hpx::apply, hpx::async, hpx::future, hpx::promise, hpx::await, hpx::broadcast, hpx::when_any, hpx::when_all, hpx::when_some etc


int calculate_mean( std::vector<int> & vector_values)
  return std::accumulate(vector_values.begin(), vector_values.end(), 0);   // RVO

int main()
hpx::id_type target = hpx::find_here();
std::vector<int>  values{1,2,2,3,4,5,6};
hpx::future<int> future_object = hpx::async(&calculate_mean, target, values)
                                  .then([](hpx::future<int> value)
                                        return value * 2
                                       }).then([](hpx::future<int> value_1)
                                        return value_1 * 2;
auto result   =   future_object.get();

hpx::find_here() - Returns the current(local) locality id. hpx::async - Asynchronously launches the task in the target(locality) with their function parameters. It returns the future object whose value is retrived using .get() method.

hpx::apply - Asynchronously launches the task and doesn't return it's result.

.then() continuation executes only after the future becomes available. By .then() we can support dataflow.


HPX currently uses ethernet,MPI as their network layer in distributed systems. Although other communication layer can also be used with HPX.


HPX supports dynamic adaptation. During the runtime of your application you can query about the no of threads in the system,amount of memory consumed,throughput of the particular compute node.With this mechanism we can dynamically load balance the cluster in order to get better performance.


It is key feature that separates HPX from other HPC Libraries. It unifies the whole memory of the cluster as single common address space.Each object you allocate in HPX has an id. AGAS is global table which maps each id to it's allocated locality. Identity of the object doesn't change when you move the object from one locality to another.

GSoC Project Description - Distributed Component Placement

Implement a feature similar to chapel programming language Domain maps in HPX to support Distribution of Objects in the cluster of computer nodes using data distribution policies like cyclic,block-cyclic.

First,things first

In one line - "Basically we are going to construct a distributed array in HPX" :)-

Domains in Chapel programming language are inspired by ZPL(Language) Regions.

From Chapel:

Domain Maps are "recipes" that instruct the compiler how to map the global view of a computation to the target locales' memory and processors

Domain Maps answers

  1. How are arrays laid out in memory ?
  2. How are arrays are stored by the locales ?

Domains represent the index-set of an array. Domains can be multi-dimensional. It is a way of expressing Data Parallelism directly in the code.

Domain Types

  1. Dense
  2. Sparse
  3. Strided
  4. Unstructed (for graphs)
  5. Associative (for maps)

Domain Maps tells how to arrange these indexes in the memory (row-major || column-major) if the array is stored locally (single-node or multi-processor) and how to distribute the domain indices to different localities if the array is stored in distributed manner (multi compute nodes).

Row major storage:

alt text

Column major storage:

alt text



  • Domains represent the index-set of an array. The start extent and end extent of each dimensions are stored. This preserves the application freedom to express the extents independent of language differences such as array starting index issue.

  • The domain supports iteration over.


  • Iterator

This function returns the iterator object for the domain, which can be used like standard c++ iterators to iterate over the iteration or domain space.

  • Split

Function helps in spliting the domain into non-overlap subdomains, which is used to create new domains.

  • Slice

This function slices the domain region to capture a small subspace of domain. Slice of the domain are useful to increase the parallel computation efficiency, where the size of slice is equal (greater than) number of processors in the system. The computation on each element (group of elements in the slice) is done parallely on each processors.

example :

alt text

Dense Domain

  • It is a full N1 * N2 * N3 * ... * NN iteration space. All array elements in the indexes are stored continuosly in the memory.

alt text

domain<int,2> dense_domain{ {0,4} , {1,5} }; 

// dense domain.
// int represent type of the index 
// 2   represent dimension (2D) 

Sparse Domain

  • It represents the specific indexes in the N-dimensional space. It is stored in compressed sparse format. alt text
domain<int,2> sparse_domain{ {1,2}, {3,5} ,{34,36} };
// sparse_domain
// It is a 2D dimensional domain, but the elements are stored only on the specified 2D co-ordinates 
// like (3,5) , (34,36)
// Stored in **compressed sparse format**

Strided domain

  • It represents the N-dimensional domain space, where each index in the domain is spaced stride value apart. alt text
domain<int,2> strided_domain{ {1,5,2} , {2,10,3} };
// strided domain.
// third argument in std::initializer_list is a stride value

Associative Domain

  • Domain whose indexes other than the integer values. They can be used to implement maps(Key, value) pairs. alt text
domain<string,3> associative_domain { {"cern"}, {"cms"}, {"atlas"} };
// associative domain
// here, type of the index is string

Graph Domain

  • Experimental feature to support unstructured domains.


Distribution Policies

Local(single node)

row_major_layout, column_major_layout, compressed_row_format (for sparse domains, experimental).

Layout in Local(single node) - Row wise layouting

alt text

Distributed (cluster of compute nodes)

block_dist_policy, cyclic_dist_policy, block_cyclic_dist_policy.

Distribution in multiple nodes

Block Distribution Policy -

alt text

Cyclic Distribution Policy -

alt text

Domain_Map_Factory Class


  • Takes domain and distribution policy (local, by default) as it's arguments in constructor.

  • If the distribution policy is local, the indices of the domain are mapped to the current(local) node in either row_major or column-major (based on specification).

  • In this case, Domain_Map_Factory class creates the mapped_domain_instance.

  • If the distribution policy is distributed, the indices of the domain are mapped to cluster of nodes in blockwise or cyclic or blockcyclic manner.

    Incase of distributed nodes, Domain_Map_Factory class creates a special map like data structure whose keys are hpx::locality_ids and values are range of domain indices mapped to that particular locality.


  • Create_Mapped_Domain()

creates an instance of Mapped_Domain.

  • query_localities()

returns a list of localities where the indices are mapped.

  • query_domain()

returns a reference to the domain.

domain<int,2> dom1{ {1,5}, {6,10} };

Domain_Map_Factory dmap_fact(dom1, block_dist(2)); 
// block_dist(arg) - where arg is a block_size on each node. If not specified then domain evenly distributed over nodes

Mapped_Domain  dmap_domain = dmap_fact.Create_Mapped_Domain();
hpx::locality_id> locs = dmap_fact.query_localities(); 
Domain_Map_Factory   local_dmap_fact(dom1, row_major);
// row_major is the layout policy of the array in the current locale

Mapped_Domain  local_dmap_domain = local_dmap_fact.Create_Mapped_Domain();

hpx::locality_id locs = local_dmap_fact.query_localities(); 

// returns only one locale id

Mapped_Domain This type acts as a factory class to create arrays. It stores a reference to Domain_Map_Factory instance or std::unique_ptr<Domain_Map_Factory> object.


  • Maintains a list of locality_ids and range of domain indices mapped to each locality.

  • Layout pattern such as row_major, column_major, compressed_row_format.

  • This class creates an array, array is stored in the mapped_localities in the specified layout. In distributed case, the single global array instance contains multiple local array instances.


  • operator[ ] () (Random access operator)

Based on the index requested, this function finds the locality_id and the index in the local array in which the element is located and returns a reference to it if array[ ] is LHS of = and copy if array[ ] is RHS of =.

  • get_iterator()

returns an instance of iterator over the array. Iterator traverses over the distributed global array by finding the indexed element locality and it's index in local array.

  • Create_Array_Factory < T > ()

This template function creates an array which hold elements of type T, with mapped_domain in the selected localities.

  • Get_Domain

Returns the reference to the domain.

  • Get_Localities

Returns the vector of hpx::locality_id's which is associated with the Mapped_domain.

auto global_array_inst = dmap_domain.Create_Array_Factory<int>( );
auto domain_inst       = dmap_domain.Get_Domain();
auto locs_list         = dmap_domain.Get_Localities();

Global_Array class The instance of class represents the global distributed or (local) array of elements. It stores a reference to the instance of Mapped_Domain which created it. Distributed array is a collection of local arrays.


  • insert_elements( arg ) This function inserts values in arg into the global_array, arg is a STL sequence container.

  • operator[ ] () Random array index operator This function calls the operator[ ] () on the instance of Mapped_Domain through the reference to get the indexed element.

  • begin() Returns an iterator pointing to the first element of global_array.

  • end() Returns an iterator pointing to the last element of global_array.

  • front() Returns a first element of global array.

  std::vector<int> vec{1,2,4,5,6,6,7,8,8,9,23,445,67,6778,898};
  for(auto itr = global_array_inst.begin(); itr != global_array_inst.end(); itr++)
     std::cout << itr;

I have learned a lot many new things during my GSoC 2017 Project. It is truly a unique experience a computer science passionate students can get in their lifetime. I highly encourage and motivate any computer science aspirant(students) to apply for Google Summer of Code program.