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Forum: Simgrid 3.1 released

Posted by: Arnaud Legrand
Date: 2006-07-14 00:20
Summary: Simgrid 3.1 released
Project: SimGrid

Content:

The SimGrid dream team is proud to announce the release of the version 3.1. Since we did not release since almost 9 months, the changelog since the 3.0.1 version is huge:

The most important changes are (check the changelog for details):

- SimDag: new programmation interface along with MSG and GRAS.

It revives the old interface found in SimGrid 2.x to express applications
as DAGs of tasks

- SURF: a sneaky bug was trapped.

Because of this, previous version (of 3.x) indicated wrong timing when
more than a link were hosting more than one flow.

- GRAS: Semantic improvement.

We now have a real RPC mechanism in GRAS, which factorize some code we
did write over and over to get a remote service. The neat thing is that
exceptions raised on the server side are propagated back to the client.

- Debugging helps.

Backtraces now display the location in the code source.

GRAS processes now display their backtrace when they receive Ctrl-C or
SIGUSR1, which revealed precious to debug problems occuring only in real
settings.

Likewise, MSG simulation display the current state of the simulated
processes when it receives Ctrl-C.

- AMOK (on top of GRAS): new module peermanagement

Makes it easy to have a bunch of processes connecting to a central point
for the initialization of your distributed algorithm.

- XBT: new module cunit

SimGrid autotesting is currently moving to unit testing. It is needed for
windows portability (shell scripts don't play well on this arch).

- XBT: new module graph

It offers classical graph handling features.

- plus several new functions and the classical bug fixes.



It has to be noted that this release also introduce some potential problems
for the users.

- Units have changed from (MBits, MFlops, seconds) fo (Bits, Flops, seconds).

You need to update any platform file you may have lying around (but the
new parser will notice if you forget, and refuse to proceed). A script to
convert the platform files can be found in the cvs, under
contrib/platform_generation/surfxml_update.pl

You also need to change all your code. Check your call to MSG_task_create()

- the messaging API of gras changed slightly.

This was unfortunately mandatory for the RPC introduction, we are sorry
for the inconvinience.

- the xbt_host_t module was renamed to xbt_peer_t. This was needed for
upcoming changes, and it was only used in xbt/config and amok for now so
we hope that nobody will get hurt by this one.


The portability may also not be as perfect as some of our previous releases.

It was tested successfully on:
- Linux (x86, PPC, Xeon, hppa)
- Max OSX (PPC)

Some issues were repported on:
- AMD64 linux: most of the currently installed libc6 have a stupid bug in
their ucontext implementation. Passing --with-pthread to configure
usually solves this issue, and a fix has been incorporated to the modern
releases of the libc. We just need to wait for them to propagate ;)

It was not tested on solaris, linux (sparc, alpha, mips), irix.

It was reported broken on:
- AIX: this release of SimGrid is the first non-pure ansi of the 3.x
branch. Old compilers like xlC will choke on it. Sorry, I didn't took the
time to fix this. A 3.1.1 version is scheduled shortly to solve this.

- Windows: the statically compiled version of the simulation library may be
usable, but since I don't use this arch myself, I have a bad time debuging
this. We hired a windows specialist, so expect some news for next release.
- ARM: no real news on this front, even if I managed to get a working ARM
emulator on my box.


For the future, we have several tons of ideas as usual and I won't go into
details here. The heavy tendencies are:
- SURF: allow packet-level simulation in addition to current models
- MSG: major rewrite (code cleanup and such)
- GRAS: Multi-threading and N-port communication model
- XBT & framework: automatic deployment

We hired a full-time engineer on the project, and we have (at least) one PhD
student begining in October. And of course, you are welcome to join the
SimGrid posse if you want to have some Real Fun (TM).


Martin, on behalf of the team.
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