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README file for pmi-spawner

@ TOC: @
@ Section: Overview @
@ Section: Basic Usage @
@ Section: Build-time Configuration @
@ Section: Runtime Configuration @

@ Section: Overview @

This document describes pmi-spawner, a component of the GASNet runtime library
which allows applications using many GASNet conduits to utilize an installed
PMI-based job spawner.

PMI stands for "Process Management Interface" and it is a standard for
interaction between a distributed job spawner and the processes they launch.
Instances of PMI-based spawners include SLURM's "srun", and the
"mpiexec.hydra" process manager distributed with MPICH and by many of its
derivatives, including the "yod" distributed with portals4.

On systems where PMI is used as the basis for launching MPI applications, the
pmi-spawner may be as simple and reliable a mechanism for GASNet job launch as
mpi-spawner, but without the resource usage associated with initializing the
MPI runtime (which GASNet will not even use outside of startup and shutdown).

@ Section: Basic Usage @

+ Usage summary (option 1):
  Many languages and libraries built over GASNet provide their own commands
  for job launch.  These should be used instead of GASNet's whenever possible.
  They typically wrap the mechanisms described below, while providing
  additional options specific to the language or library.

  The remaining options are documented here mainly for those who are
  implementing such a wrapper.

+ Usage summary (option 2):
  Conduits which support pmi-spawner each include a spawner utility named
  for the conduit:
    gasnetrun_[conduit] -n <n> [options] [--] prog [program args]
      -n <n>                 number of processes to run (required)
      -N <N>                 number of nodes to run on (not supported by all MPIs)
      -E <VAR1[,VAR2...]>    list of environment vars to propagate
      -v                     be verbose about what is happening
      -t                     test only, don't execute anything (implies -v)
      -k                     keep any temporary files created (implies -v)
      -spawner=(ssh|mpi|pmi) force use of a specific spawner (if available)

  The pmi-spawner described in this README is used if selected by one of the
  following three mechanisms, in order from greatest to least precedence:
     + Passing -spawner=pmi to the gasnetrun_[conduit] utility
     + Setting GASNET_[CONDUIT]_SPAWNER=pmi in the environment
     + If pmi-spawner was established as the default at configure time (see
       Build-time Configuration, below).

+ Discontinued usage:
  In prior releases it was often possible to launch some GASNet applications
  directly using "srun", "mpiexec" or "yod".  This no longer supported, and
  if used may result in unexpected behaviors (rather than graceful failure).

@ Section: Build-time Configuration @

Conduits which support pmi-spawner each accept a configure option of the form
where VALUE is one of "mpi", "ssh", or "pmi".  This sets the default spawner
used by the corresponding gasnetrun_[conduit] utility, as described in the
"Basic Usage" section above.  Passing '--with-[conduit]-spawner=pmi' sets the
default for the corresponding conduit, and additionally ensures that configure
will fail if the corresponding conduit is to be built but PMI support was not

In order to use pmi-spawner, a working PMI client library must be identified
at configure time, and pmi-spawner must be instructed how to execute the
corresponding PMI server.  The following configure options are used for those

    Enables or disables PMI support. Default is to probe for availability.
    If '--enable-pmi' is given then configure will fail if a PMI client library
    cannot be identified.

    Explicitly provide DIR as the install prefix of the PMI support. DIR is taken as
    the directory containing an "include" subdirectory, and is also searched
    for "lib", "lib32" or "lib64" (as appropriate) unless the configure option
    '--with-pmi-ldflags' is also specified.  Without this option configure will
    search the standard locations for headers and libraries.  

    This option specifies the linker flags needed to link the PMI client library,
    overriding the default search. Usually of the form -L/path/to/pmi/lib

    This option disables the default search logic for a PMI client library
    and uses the VALUE of this option as the linker argument to specify the
    library.  This is useful if one needs to use a PMI implementation not yet
    recognized by GASNet's configure logic.  Some example values include
    "-lpmi_runtime" or "/full/path/to/libpmi_static.a".
    Values such as "-Wl,-rpath=DIR -lpmi" may be used to deal with the case
    that DIR is not in the default shared library search path at run time
    (please note that this example is linker-specific).

  --with-pmi-version=VALUE (where VALUE must be 1 or 2)
    If present, this option forces configure to only accept a client library
    which implements the given version of the PMI specification.  This is
    normally only required if both are available but the PMI server supports
    one but not the other.

    At runtime, the PMIRUN_CMD environment variable (documented below) controls
    how pmi-spawner executes the PMI server command.  This configure option
    establishes a default value for that variable.  If this option is not
    passed then the configure time value of the environment variable PMIRUN_CMD
    is used.
    If neither this option nor the PMIRUN_CMD environment variable provides a
    default value, then the value of MPIRUN_CMD selected by configure will be
    used.  This is a reasonable behavior on systems where MPI launch is also
    PMI based.  However, it can sometimes lead to unexpected behaviors (such
    as delays at startup or shutdown).  For this reason, one is encouraged to
    pass '--with-pmirun-cmd=VALUE' or set PMIRUN_CMD explicitly if pmi-spawner
    will be used.

@ Section: Runtime Configuration @

Recognized Environment Variables:

* PMIRUN_CMD - a template for executing the PMI server process.
  A default value is established at configure time, but a value set at run
  time will take precedence over that default.
  The format of this variable is identical to that of MPIRUN_CMD, which is
  documented in mpi-conduit's README.

* MPIRUN_CMD - a template for executing mpirun, or its equivalent.
  At configuration time this variable is used to establish a default for
  PMIRUN_CMD if it is not set.
  At runtime this variable is ignored *except* by the gasnetrun_gemini and
  gasnetrun_aries utilities, which use it when PMIRUN_CMD is not set.  This
  behavior is *only* for compatibility with scripts written for earlier
  releases of GASNet.  Users are encourage to use PMIRUN_CMD instead.