The history of ParaStation MPI

The fundamentals of the ParaStation software were laid in 1995, when the ParaStation communication hardware and software system was presented. It was developed at the chair of Professor Tichy at computer science department of Karlsruhe University.

When in 1998 ParaStation2 was presented, it was a pure software project. The communication platform used then was Myrinet, a Gigabit interconnect developed by Myricom. The development of ParaStation2 still took place at the University of Karlsruhe.

ParaStation became commercial in 1999 when ParTec AG was founded. This spin-off from the University of Karlsruhe owned all rights and patents connected with the ParaStation software. ParTec promoted the further development and improvement of the software. This included the support of a broader basis of supported processor types, communication interconnect and operating systems.

Version 3 of the ParaStation software for Myrinet was a rewrite from scratch fully in the responsibility of ParTec. All the know-how and experiences achieved from the former versions of the software were incorporated into this version. It was presented in 2001 and was a major breakthrough with respect to throughput, latency and stability of the software. Nevertheless it was enhanced constantly with regard to performance, stability and usability.

In 2002 the ParaStation FE software was presented opening the ParaStation software environment towards Ethernet communication hardware. This first step in the direction of independence from the underlying communication hardware brought the convenient ParaStation management facility to Beowulf clusters for the first time. Furthermore the suboptimal communication performance for large packets gained from the MPIch/P4 implementation of the MPI message passing interface, the de facto standard on Beowulf clusters, was improved to the limits that may to be expected from the physical circumstances.

With ParaStation4 presented in 2003 the software became really communication platform independent. With this version of the software even Gigabit Ethernet became a serious alternative as a cluster interconnect due to the throughput and latency that could be achieved.

In the middle of 2004, all rights on ParaStation where transferred from ParTec AG to the ParTec Cluster Competence Center GmbH. This new company takes a much more service-oriented approach to the customer. The main goal was to deliver integrated and complete software stacks for LINUX-based compute clusters by selecting state-of-the-art software components and driving software development efforts in areas where real added value can be provided. The ParTec Cluster Competence Center GmbH continued to develop and support the ParaStation product as an important part of it's portfolio.

At the end of 2007, ParaStation MPI was released supporting MPI2 and even more interconnects and especially protocols, like DAPL. ParaStation MPI is backward compatible to the previous ParaStation4 version. At the same time, it was renamed to ParaStation MPI, as ParaStation5 now includes more components beside a MPI.