Prominent features of the Intel® Manycore Platform Software Stack (Intel® MPSS) version 3.7

The Intel® Manycore Platform Software Stack (Intel® MPSS) version 3.7 was released on April 6th, 2016. This page lists the prominent features in this release.

Separation of the Hetero Streams Library from the Intel® MPSS package

Support for Microsoft® Windows* 10

Functional changes

  • Changes in micperf options
  • Alternative OpenSSH package 
  • Improve security by binary hardening Intel® MPSS components

Removed functionality

  • Support for COI buffer type COI_BUFFER_PINNED removed
  • COI _dynamic authentication method removed
  • Dropped support for older Linux* distributions
  • Dropped support for older OFED versions

 

 

Separation of the Hetero Streams Library from the Intel® MPSS package

 

As of this revision of the Intel® MPSS, the Hetero Streams Library - also known as hStreams - is no longer part of the software stack but becomes a separate software product.

The library code is open-source and available on Github: https://github.com/01org/hetero-streams.
Each library release will be hosted on the project’s website: https://01.org/hetero-streams-library.

The first separate release of the Hetero Streams Library features a number of improvements and new functionalities, such as:

  • Support for the Microsoft® Windows* platforms for the host-as-target feature.
  • New logging mechanism, enhancing the quality of error, debug and informational messages.
  • Support for 64-bit versions of the Intel® MKL libraries.
  • Automatically searching for Intel® Xeon Phi™ sink-side libraries in standard paths, as specified by the Intel® Parallel Composer’s environment variables.
  • Versioning of the library interface, allowing for fine-grained control over the library backward compatibility.

Please note that the separate release of the library is compatible with previous Intel® MPSS revisions, and therefore it is not necessary to update your software stack installation to use it. For more information refer to the Hetero Streams Library User Guide document, which is bundled with the library release.

Support for Microsoft® Windows* 10

As of version 3.7, the Intel® MPSS can run on Microsoft® Windows* 10 hosts.

Functional changes

Several existing functionalities were changed or improved.

Changes in micperf options

micperf is a tool to run reference workloads on the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors. It allows to run one or more kernels and collect performance results. The “-p” option allows users to pass kernel-specific parameters to the program. As of this release, the “-p” option can be specified only when a single kernel is provided. Therefore it is clear which kernel should consume those extra parameters. If the “-p” option is provided with more than one kernel, an error is generated – as in the example below:

$ micprun -k sgemm:linpack -p "--f_first_matrix_size 1000 \
--l_last_matrix_size 1000 --s_step 1000"

ERROR: -p option can only modify the parameters for a single kernel,
micprun received 2 kernels sgemm:linpack
$

Alternative OpenSSH package

OpenSSL is a dependency of the OpenSSH package, which is essential for communicating with the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors. However, security advisories are regularly released for OpenSSL requiring immediate update of the Intel® MPSS. The alternative OpenSSH package was included to address this issue.

The default OpenSSH package (based on OpenSSL) is still supported and installed as a primary OpenSSH tool. The alternative OpenSSH version 7.1 package was built without dependency on the OpenSSL library. This version requires users to employ specific key exchange algorithm and public/private keys format. Besides removing the dependency on the OpenSSL library, users will witness no further differences when using the alternative package.

This change allows users to handle issues that might appear in OpenSSL by switching to the alternative OpenSSH package and configuring their public/private keys appropriately. It allows for safe use of the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors until the scheduled Intel® MPSS release fixes the OpenSSL issues. If users choose to use this mitigation strategy, they would need to ensure that a compatible OpenSSH client version is installed on the host system. Keys compatible with this OpenSSH version can be generated using the ssh-keygen command as shown below:

$ ssh-keygen -t ed25519

Improve security by binary hardening Intel® MPSS components

In order to improve security, selected software stack components were recompiled using specific compiler and linked options. Those options include source code fortification (via _FORTIFY_SOURCE macro), generation of position independent code, and support for read only relocation sections.

All user-space modules running on the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors, except glibc, lustre-client and dapl, were recompiled using some or all options listed above. Glibc uses its own hardening mechanisms while remaining modules were not modified to avoid significant performance degradation.

 

Removed functionality

COI functionalities deprecated in previous version of the Intel® MPSS were removed.

Support for COI buffer type COI_BUFFER_PINNED removed

Support for buffers shared across PCIe between Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors, represented by COI buffer type COI_BUFFER_PINNED was removed. As of the current release, the COI API returns COI_NOT_SUPPORTED upon attempts to create the COI_BUFFER_PINNED buffer type. In the COI_BUFFER_TYPE, COI_BUFFER_PINNED should be renamed to COI_BUFFER_RESERVED_3. 

COI _dynamic authentication method removed

COI _Dynamic authentication mode was removed. Two authentication modes are available:

  • micuser mode(default); all sink processes are spawned by one user (default: micuser) on the sink.
  • _Authorized mode; sink processes are spawned on the sink by the same user who owns the source application on the host (this mode assumes that both host and coprocessor have the same user).

Dropped support for older Linux* distributions

Following Linux* distributions are no longer supported:

  • SUSE* Linux* Enterprise Server 11 SP3
  • RedHat* Enterprise Linux* 6.5

Dropped support for older OFED versions

Following versions of OFED (Open Fabrics Enterprise Distribution) are no longer supported:

  • OpenFabrics Alliance OFED 1.5.4
  • Mellanox* OFED 2.1 and 2.2 *Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
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