Use of CCA Technologies in the TSTT Interface Definition Efforts

Center for Component Technology for Terascale Simulation Software CET
PI: David Bernholdt (ORNL), ITAPS Point of Contact: L. Diachin (LLNL)

We have close collaborations with various members of the CTASKS SciDAC center and have worked with them in a number of different ways to ensure that ITAPS and CCA technologies will be compatible. In particular, a pervading theme in the ITAPS center work is the creation of interoperable technologies for meshing and discretization tools. Critical to this effort is the development of common interfaces that support mesh and data field access at many different levels of sophistication, and we are collaborating with the Center for Component Technology and the CCA Forum to define these interfaces. For SC01, we worked with several members of CTASKS to demonstrate the use of ITAPS mesh components in the CCAFFIENE CCA-compliant framework to solve a time-dependent PDE. As mentioned in the meshing interoperability section, we are also working closely with SIDL and Babel to investigate the creation of language independent mesh components. Our basic interfaces are defined using SIDL, and additional work is now underway to determine the best way to provide high performance interfaces for entity-by-entity interactions.

Throughout SciDAC-1, the interface definition group has worked in conjunction with the Common Component Architecture (CCA) Forum in a number of ways to ensure that the ITAPS interfaces are compatible with CCA specifications. Our efforts fall into two major categories.

First, we have done a significant amount of work to understand and use the Scientific Interface Definition Language (SIDL) and associated Babel compiler developed as part of the CCA effort. This work is motivated by the fact that many of the ITAPS tools are written in C++ and most of our targeted applications are written in Fortran. We did not wish to settle for the least common denominator solution of using arrays for all of our data transfer. Thus we are using the SIDL tool to define our interfaces in a language independent manner and to facilitate the consistent and efficient implementation of language bindings to these interfaces. In particular, we have generated and used the C, C++ and Fortran bindings for various ITAPS mesh implementations. In addition, LLNL has created a prototype interface for fields and operators using SIDL. Ongoing work is being performed to clearly understand the performance ramifications of using SIDL/Babel, particularly on fine-grained operations such as entity-by-entity access to mesh geometry and topology. In particular, we are investigating the possibility of providing language- or tool-specific access to the underlying meshes for the cases where high performance is critical for this type of access. Early efforts include a development of a C++ version of the ITAPS interface that bypasses the SIDL intermediate object representation (written in C). However this work is very preliminary; much more needs to be done to evaluate the performance ramifications of SIDL on our interface and to develop solutions that are compatible with the SIDL specification.

Second we are developing ITAPS and CCA-compliant mesh components and using them with other numerical components to demonstrate their ability to solve application problems. The first application involves a two-dimensional ITAPS mesh that was used in conjunction with time integrator, linear solver, MxN redistribution, and visualization components (all developed at different labs as part of the CCA Forum efforts) to solve a time dependent PDE in the CCAFFIENE framework developed at SNL. This work was demonstrated at SC01 and continues to be used to illustrate complex application scenarios in the quarterly CCA tutorials. The second application was developed using the NWGrid meshing software from PNNL. In this case, a SIDL version of the TSTT interface was used to generate a Fortran binding for NWGrid so that it could be used with a mesh quality improvement component (based on Opt-MS algorithms from ANL) that was written in C. These components were successfully deployed and used in the DeCaf framework developed by LLNL.