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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  PVM_INTRO (1)


PVM, pvm_intro - Parallel Virtual Machine System Version 3


Machine Architecture
Environment Variables
See Also


PVM is a software system that enables a collection of heterogeneous computers to be used as a coherent and flexible concurrent computational resource.

The individual computers may be shared- or local-memory multiprocessors, vector supercomputers, specialized graphics engines, or scalar workstations, that may be interconnected by a variety of networks, such as ethernet, FDDI.

User programs written in C, C++ or Fortran access PVM through library routines (libpvm3.a and libfpvm3.a).

Daemon programs (pvmd3) provide communication and process control between computers.


In the PVM system, machines are assigned a short string to identify their architectures (this includes operating system type as well as CPU type). The types currently predefined in the distribution are:
AFX8 Alliant FX/8
ALPHAMP DEC Alpha/OSF-1 / using shared memory
AIX46K IBM/RS6000 / AIX 4.x
AIX4MP IBM SMP / shared memory transport / AIX 4.x
AIX4SP2 IBM SP-2 / using MPI / AIX 4.x
APOLLO HP 300 running Domain/OS
ATT AT&T/NCR 3600 running SysVR4
BAL Sequent Balance
BFLY BBN Butterfly TC2000
BSD386 80[345]86 running BSDI or BSD386
CM2 Thinking Machines CM-2 Sun front-end
CM5 Thinking Machines CM-5
CNVX Convex using IEEE floating-point
CNVXN Convex using native f.p.
CRAY2 Cray-2
CSPP Convex Exemplar
CYGWIN POSIX emulation layer on top of Windows32
DGAV,DGIX Data General Aviion
E88K Encore 88000
FREEBSD 80[345]86 running FreeBSD
HP300 HP 9000 68000 cpu
HPPA HP 9000 PA-Risc
HPPAMP HP 9000 PA-Risc / shared memory transport
KSR1 Kendall Square
I860 Intel RX Hypercube
IPSC2 Intel IPSC/2
LINUX 80[345]86 running Linux
LINUXALPHA DEC Alpha running Linux
LINUXARM Strogarm running Linux
LINUXHPPA HP 9000 running Linux
LINUXPPC PowerPC running Linux
LINUXSPARC Sparc running Linux
M88K Motorola M88100 running Real/IX
M88K Motorola M88100 running Real/IX
NETBSDAMIGA Amiga running NetBSD
NETBSDARM32 Strongarm running NetBSD
NETBSDHP300 HP 300 running NetBSD
NETBSDI386 80[345]86 running NetBSD
NETBSDM68K Any Motorola 68K running NetBSD
NETBSDMAC68K Macintosh running NetBSD
NETBSDNS32K NS32K running NetBSD
NETBSDSH3 SH3 running NetBSD
NETBSDSPARC Sparc running NetBSD
NETBSDSPARC64 Sparc64 running NetBSD
NETBSDVAX Vax running NetBSD
OS2 OS/2
PGON Intel Paragon
PMAX DEC/Mips arch (3100, 5000, etc.)
RS6K IBM/RS6000 / AIX 3.x
RS6KMP IBM SMP / shared memory transport / AIX 3.x
SCO 80[345]86 running SCO Unix
SGI Silicon Graphics IRIS
SGI5 Silicon Graphics IRIS running OS 5.0
SGI6 Silicon Graphics IRIS running OS >= 6.0
SGI64 Silicon Graphics IRIS running 64 bit
SGIMP Silicon Graphics IRIS / OS 5.x / using shared memory
SGIMP6 Silicon Graphics IRIS / OS 6.x / using shared memory
SGIMP64 Silicon Graphics IRIS / 64 bit / using shared memory
SP2MPI IBM SP-2 / using MPI / AIX 3.x
SUN3 Sun 3
SUN4 Sun 4, 4c, sparc, etc.
SUN4SOL2 Sun 4 running Solaris 2.x
SUNMP Sun 4 / using shared memory / Solaris 2.x
SYMM Sequent Symmetry
TITN Stardent Titan
U370 IBM 3090 running AIX
UTS2 Amdahl running UTS
UVAX DEC/Microvax
UXPM Fujitsu running UXP/M
VCM2 Thinking Machines CM-2 Vax front-end
WIN32 Windows 95/98/NT
X86SOL2 80[345]86 running Solaris 2.x


The following environment variables are read by PVM and may be set in order to customize your PVM environment. To set them, you can add commands to your .cshrc or .profile or equivalent shell startup file. See the manual page for the shell you normally use for information about how to do this. You can also include an appropriate shell startup file stub to set PVM environment variables and to add PVM directories to your execution path. Inert the matching stub file, pvm3/lib/cshrc.stub, pvm3/lib/kshrc.stub or pvm3/lib/bashrc.stub, after your declaration of PVM_ROOT in your shell startup file.

For csh users: Note that setting them in .login does not have the same effect. The .login script file is only read when you are actually logging in, whereas .cshrc is read every time csh starts up. PVM needs to have environment variables set when it starts a slave pvmd with "rsh host pvmd ...", so they must be set in .cshrc.

For those using a shell that doesn’t always read a startup script (e.g. sh, ksh), there is another way to set environment variables for PVM. Before running the PVM executables, the pvm and pvmd startup scripts source any commands in $HOME/.pvmprofile if this file exists.

The following environment variables are supported by PVM 3.4.4:
PVM_ROOT The path where PVM libraries and system programs are installed, for example /usr/local/pvm3 or $HOME/pvm3. This variable must be set on each host where PVM is used in order for PVM to function. There is no default value.
PVM_TMP The path for PVM temporary files, such as the daemon socket file pvmd.<uid> and the log file pvml.<uid>. Use this environment variable to use a directory other than /tmp (or C:\TEMP on Win32), or to introduce added security by using a protected subdirectory in /tmp that is owned by your userid and cannot be easily corrupted.
PVM_RSH The path to the "rsh" program on your system, if different than that defined in the $PVM_ROOT/conf/$PVM_ARCH.def configuration file. This environment variable can also be used to replace "rsh" with "ssh" for added security.
PVM_PATH The execution path to be searched for PVM programs on your system. By default, PVM looks in $HOME/pvm3/bin/$PVM_ARCH and $PVM_ROOT/bin/$PVM_ARCH for your PVM applications. This environment variable does not override the ep= host file option.
PVM_WD The working directory for spawned PVM programs on your system. By default, PVM spawns your PVM applications in $HOME, but for convenience in accessing data or input files using relative path names, an alternate working directory can be specified. This environment variable does not override the wd= host file option.
PVM_EXPORT Names of environment variables to export from a parent task to children tasks through pvm_spawn(). Multiple names must be separated by ’:’. If PVM_EXPORT is not set, no environment is exported.
PVM_DEBUGGER The debugger script to use when pvm_spawn() is called with PvmTaskDebug set. The default is $PVM_ROOT/lib/debugger.
PVM_DPATH The path of the pvmd startup script (default is $PVM_ROOT/lib/pvmd). It is overridden by host file option dx=.

This variable is useful if you use a shell that doesn’t automatically execute a startup script (such as .cshrc) to allow setting PVM_ROOT on slave (added) hosts. If you set it to the absolute or relative path of the pvmd startup script (for example /usr/local/pvm3/lib/pvmd or pvm3/lib/pvmd), the script will automatically set PVM_ROOT. Note that for this to work, you must set it to run the pvmd script, not the pvmd3 executable itself.

PVM_WINDPATH This variable serves the same purpose as the PVM_DPATH above, but specifically for Win32 systems. This second environment variable allows for alternate specification of the path to the pvmd3.exe daemon executable using appropriate DOS file path syntax and environment variables (e.g. %PVM_ROOT%\lib\WIN32\pvmd3.exe).
PVMHOSTFILE Specifies the path to an optional host file to be used by default when starting PVM. This alleviates the need to manually pass a host file path argument to the "pvm" console or "pvmd" script when starting PVM.
PVMDLOGMAX Sets the maximum length of the pvmd error log file. Default value is the PVMDLOGMAX parameter in the source, 1 Mbyte.
PVMDDEBUG Sets the default pvmd debugging mask (as does the pvmd -d option). Value can be in hexadecimal (0x...), octal (0...) or decimal. Used to debug the pvmd (not intended to be used to debug application programs).
PVMTASKDEBUG Sets the default libpvm debugging mask (as does pvm_setopt(PvmDebugMask, x)). Value can be in hexadecimal (0x...), octal (0...) or decimal. Used to debug libpvm (not intended to be used to debug application programs).
PVMTASK Sets additional flag bits for the pvm_spawn() library call. Allows override at run time of flags compiled into the pvm_spawn() calls in PVM application, e.g. to turn on PvmTaskDebug for popping up child tasks in a debugger window.
PVMBUFSIZE Sets the size of the shared memory buffers used by libpvm and the pvmd. The default value is 1048576. If your program composes messages longer than this size, you must increase it.
PVM_VMID A new feature in PVM 3.4.4 is the concept of a "Virtual Machine ID". You can now set the PVM_VMID environment variable to an arbitrary string (or use the "id=" option in a host file, see man page for pvmd3), and this will distinguish and allow multiple virtual machines to run on the same set of hosts under the same userid. (This feature was originally introduced by SGI in their commercial PVM product, and has now been generalized for the public PVM system.) This feature seems to be something that people often want, and the PVM_VMID is the cleanest way to provide this functionality, rather than overloading the SHAREDTMP compiler flag and other internals.

Setting the PVM_VMID environment variable before starting PVM will create an encapsulated virtual machine with the given VMID name. By default, all other hosts which are added to this virtual machine will inherit the same VMID. If hosts are added to the virtual machine which are running older versions of PVM (prior to 3.4.4), then the VMID will be ignored for those hosts, and hence these machines can only be added to one virtual machine for the given user. The VMID need not be consistent on every host in a virtual machine (although this is not necessarily advisable), and the VMID can be set for individual hosts using the "id=" host file option (see man page for pvmd3).

The following environment variables are used by PVM internally. With the exception of PVM_ARCH, their values should not be modified. This is for information only.

PVM_ARCH The PVM architecture name of the host on which it is set, used to distinguish between machines with different executable (a.out) formats. Copies of a program for different architectures are installed in parallel directories named for PVM architectures.
PVMSOCK Is passed from pvmd to spawned task, and gives the address of the pvmd local socket.
PVMEPID Holds the expected process id of a spawned task exec’d by the pvmd. This is a magic cookie used by the task to identify itself when reconnecting to the pvmd, in order to get the correct task slot.
PVMTMASK The libpvm trace mask, passed from the pvmd to spawned tasks.
PVMTRCBUF The libpvm trace buffer size. If specified determines the number of bytes of trace event message buffer to be collected before sending to front-end tracer program.
PVMTRCOPT The libpvm trace option setting. Determines the level of tracing to be performed on invocations of PVM library calls.
PVMINPLACEDELAY Used to optimize sending of PvmDataInPlace messages on MPP systems.
PVMKEY PVM uses this value, combined with the process id, to generate shared-memory segment keys. The default value is your numeric uid. PVM automatically detects collisions when generating a key and picks a new key, so it should almost never need to be set explicitly.


aimk(1PVM), pvm(1PVM), pvmd3(1PVM), PVM 3.3 User’s Guide and Reference Manual


A. L. Beguelin [4,5], J. J. Dongarra [1,2], G. A. Geist [2], W. C. Jiang [1], R. J. Manchek [1], B. K. Moore [1], V. S. Sunderam [3]

1. University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN.
2. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge TN.
3. Emory University, Atlanta GA.
4. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA
5. Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center, Pittsburgh PA

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PVM_INTRO (1PVM) 11 April, 1995

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