University of Oxford Parallel Applications Centre

The Oxford BSP Toolset and Profiling system (v 1.4)

We are pleased to announce the third official release of the Oxford BSP Toolset which conforms to the BSPlib programming library definition. BSPlib is an SPMD communications library, and is based on the Bulk Synchronous Parallel (BSP) model of parallel computation. The main feature of BSPlib is two modes of communication, one capturing a BSP oriented message passing approach, and the other reflecting a (one-sided) direct remote memory access paradigm. The core BSP library consists of just 20 primitives. All the sources of the library, and accompanying profiling tools are freely available by anonymous FTP; details below.

To subscribe to a mailing list for toolset users, mail Any bug reports should be sent to, in a style similar to the active bug report list which is kept here.

Updated 30th September 1998

Table of contents

  1. How to get the toolset
  2. Available platforms
  3. Literate source
  4. What's new in this release
  5. Previous distributions

How to get the toolset

The source distribution of the library and profiling tools are available as a gzipped tar archive from here. Previous releases are not available any more. Separate binary releases of the software for different platforms may appear at a later date/release. A copy of the installation guide, which comes bundled with the distribution, can also be downloaded from here.

A pre-compiled version for Windows NT is available from here. We strongly advise people to use this version, in preference to building their own version from the source distribution above

Available platforms

Two factors guide the installation of the toolset: (1) the machine architecture and operating system release; and (2) the type of device used as the communication medium. To date, the tested architectures are:

MACHINEbsparch tag
Silicon Graphics Power Challenge (Irix 6.x) SGICHALL64
Silicon Graphics Origin 2000 (Irix 6.x) SGIORIGIN
Silicon Graphics workstation (Irix 5.x, 6.x) SGI
IBM SP2 running AIX SP2
Parsytec Explorer PARSYTEC
Transtech Paramid PARAMID
SunOS 4.1.x SunOS
SunOS 5.x Solaris
PC based Unix LINUX
PCs running Windows NT WIN32
Digital's alpha boxes OSF1

The tested communication devices are shown below. It should be noted, that only a small subset of the cross-product of architectures and devices are valid builds of the toolset.

COMMUNICATIONS MEDIUM bsparch -device tag
System V shared memory SHMEM_SYSV
UDP/IP like 3com device driver MPASS_3C905B
SGI specific shared memory operations SHMEM_SGI
Windows NT shared memory SHMEM_WIN32
p=1, sequential version of the library SHMEM_NULL
Message Passing Interface MPASS_MPI
IBM's message passing system MPASS_MPL
PARMACS message passing library MPASS_PARMACS
Message passing on the Parsytec GC MPASS_PARIX
Express (Parasoft Ltd) message passing MPASS_EXPRESS
Cray Shmem one-sided communications DRMA_SHMEM

Literate source

The Oxford BSP toolset was written using a home grown literate programming system (see litToTex and litToPgm). The code is written using LaTeX, with program text placed between the \begin{code} and \end{code} delimeters.

A Postscript file of the source (with LaTeX comments) of the core library can be found here; the source of the level-1 library that contains the collective communications can be found here; and the source code for the TCP/IP communications sub-system can be found here.

What's new in this release (v1.4)

  1. UDP/IP and TCP/IP implementations of BSPlib that enables a homogeneous cluster of workstations to be used as a parallel machine. The distribution includes a load manager that ensures processes are started on the least loaded processors in a cluster of workstations.
  2. A shared memory implementation for Windows NT.
  3. Various bug fixes and speed improvements (see the bug report list).

Previous distributions

  1. Version 1.3, November 1997, (announce, tar file)
  2. Version 1.1.2, August 1997, (announce, tar file)
  3. Version 1.1, June 1997, (announce,tar file)
  4. Version 0.9a, May 1997, (announce, tar file)
  5. Version 0.81a, Mar 1997 (announce, tar file)
  6. Version 0.72a, Nov 1996, (announce, tar file)
  7. Version 0.6b, Oct 1996, (announce, tar file)

The Oxford BSP Toolset is a product of the BSP Programming Environment, a UK Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council project in the Portable Software Tools for Parallel Architectures Programme. Our partners in this enterprise are British Aerospace Sowerby Research Centre and NAG Ltd.

© Oxford Parallel 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Please send comments to Jon Hill Need more information? See: What's New in BSP Worldwide