Engineers and scientists working in a heterogeneous computing environment often want to distribute the various tasks of an application—such as computation, storage, analysis, or visualization—to different types of resources and libraries. Often, a technique known as remote procedure call (RPC) is used that allows local calls to be transparently executed onto remote resources.

Using RPC on a high-performance computing system presents two limitations, however: the inability to take advantage of the native network transport and the inability to transfer large amounts of data.

To avoid these limitations, we define Mercury—an RPC interface specifically designed for high-performance computing. Mercury builds on a small, easily ported network abstraction layer, providing operations closely matched to the capabilities of high-performance network environments. Unlike most other RPC frameworks, Mercury directly supports handling remote calls containing large data arguments. Moreover, Mercury’s network protocol is designed to scale to thousands of clients.

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