[Rd] Snow or alternative MPI packages on Windows

Jeffrey Horner jeff.horner at vanderbilt.edu
Thu Jul 17 17:44:13 CEST 2008

giuseppe1.milicia at hsbcib.com wrote on 07/16/2008 08:52 AM:
> Guys,
> I'm running R on both Windows & Linux. I'm looking at a number of packages
> for parallel execution. It seems that the most used packages are "snow" and
> "Rmpi".
> snow seems more user friendly, but it doesn't run on windows. I see from
> searching the mailing list that I'm not the first one to try it on Windows.
> There was a message that kind of shed some hope on the subject, but nothing
> else.
> Rmpi works well on windows (with DeinoMPI) but it's kind of low level, so
> before I embark in writing code similar to snow to have some high level
> constructs I though I'd ask here about other peoples experiences...
> Is anyone around here doing parallel R on Windows? If so could you share
> your experience?

I remember working with Jack Dongarra's group back in the late '90's 
when Microsoft donated some money, hardware, and software to ensure that 
pvm, scalapack, and the like worked on Windows. My particular task was 
to port Atlas to Windows and benchmark installs with various compilers 
and commercial BLAS libraries. it was a total PITA, dealing with calling 
conventions between fortran and C/C++, and DLL hell.

Anyway, the main researcher involved in the parallel Windows work 
realized (obviously) the hard problem was remotely connecting to Windows 
machines and spawning tasks, so he spent the majority of his time 
writing an rsh daemon, and it became kind of a stink because he went on 
to commercialize his work, buying the domain name myrshdaemon.com, and 
selling it. No one ever knew how much money he made.

Point being, around ten years have passed and including Windows in a 
parallel setup is still a problem?!? Sheesh!


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