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Parallel Computing at SLAC

Please note: this page has gotten out of date.
We are in the process of updating it (as of February, 2012).

Getting Help

General Help

If you encounter any problems with the hardware or software mentioned here, please send an email to

See also the Lecture Series: "Introduction to Parallel Programming"

MPI Users Mailing List

There is a a mailinglist for all parallel computing related issues: mpi-users
To subscribe, send mail to with the following in the body of the message:
subscribe mpi-users

Public Hardware

Pinto infiniband cluster
The pinto cluster can be used both for software development and production runs, via LSF batch.



  • OpenMPI with Ethernet and Infiniband
    The goal is to move away from all previously mentioned MPI versions and switch to this one. It will have support for all the different interconnect used at SLAC. It will be available as 32 bit and 64 bit version.
    We currently support only RedHat's OpenMPI, which is version 1.4 on RHEL5.
    If the mpi executables (mpirun, mpic++, etc.) are not in your PATH, you may need to run mpi-selector-menu. Generally, you should select "openmpi-1.4-gcc-x86_64" unless you have some reason to use the 32-bit version. See also the man page.

    Various compilers are available. We generally recommend the latest Intel compilers for MPI work. You can add them to your PATH by sourcing the following script (assuming csh/tcsh and 64-bits):
    source /afs/slac/package/intel_tools/2011u8/bin/compilervars.csh intel64

  • MPI for Mac OS X
    We currently do not support any MPI versions for Mac OS X.
  • Click here for a little SLAC specific MPI tutorial.


    We do not currently have any expertise to support OpenMP. It is reported to work with the Intel compilers. Here is an old OpenMP Tutorial.

    Mixed MPI and OpenMP Programs

    It is possible to use OpenMP inside an MPI program.
    Here is another old SLAC specific tutorial on how to do this.


    • The GNU debugger gdb is available in your search path on all SLAC machines.
    • The Intel debugger is idb. See the man page.
    • Totalview
      SLAC has 1 (one) license for up to 4 CPUs. The debugger is avialable for Linux only.
      It is accessable via /usr/local/bin/totalview or /afs/
      It is available for 32-bit or 64-bit.

    Reference for Sun Studio compiler suite:

    Alf Wachsmann/John Bartelt Last Modified: Feb 13, 2012.