ZPL: A Machine Independent Programming Language for Parallel Computers

Bradford L. Chamberlain
Sung-Eun Choi
E Christopher Lewis
Calvin Lin
Lawrence Snyder
W. Derrick Weathersby

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 26(3):197-211, March 2000

Abstract: The goal of producing architecture-independent parallel programs is complicated by the competing need for high performance. The ZPL programming language achieves both goals by building upon an abstract parallel machine and by providing programming constructs that allow the programmer to "see" this underlying machine. This paper describes ZPL and provides a comprehensive evaluation of the language with respect to its goals of performance, portability, and programming convenience. In particular, we describe ZPL's machine-independent performance model, describe the programming benefits of ZPL's region-based constructs, summarize the compilation benefits of the language's high-level semantics, and summarize empirical evidence that ZPL has achieved both high performance and portability on diverse machines such as the IBM SP-2, Cray T3E, and SGI Power Challenge.