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MPICH is a collaboratively developed open-source implementation of MPI distributed under the BSD license. MPICH is based on the MPI-1 standard.

Note: MPICH is provided for backwards compatibility. Any project developing new software should consider using MPICH2 or MVAPICH2.

Versions and Availability

Module Names for mpich on philip
Machine Version Module Name
philip 3.1.4 mpich/3.1.4/GCC-4.9.0
philip 3.1.4 mpich/3.1.4/INTEL-15.0.3
▶ Module FAQ?

The information here is applicable to LSU HPC and LONI systems.


A user may choose between using /bin/bash and /bin/tcsh. Details about each shell follows.


System resource file: /etc/profile

When one access the shell, the following user files are read in if they exist (in order):

  1. ~/.bash_profile (anything sent to STDOUT or STDERR will cause things like rsync to break)
  2. ~/.bashrc (interactive login only)
  3. ~/.profile

When a user logs out of an interactive session, the file ~/.bash_logout is executed if it exists.

The default value of the environmental variable, PATH, is set automatically using SoftEnv. See below for more information.


The file ~/.cshrc is used to customize the user's environment if his login shell is /bin/tcsh.


Modules is a utility which helps users manage the complex business of setting up their shell environment in the face of potentially conflicting application versions and libraries.

Default Setup

When a user logs in, the system looks for a file named .modules in their home directory. This file contains module commands to set up the initial shell environment.

Viewing Available Modules

The command

$ module avail

displays a list of all the modules available. The list will look something like:

--- some stuff deleted ---

---------------- /usr/local/packages/Modules/modulefiles/admin -----------------
EasyBuild/1.11.1       GCC/4.9.0              INTEL-140-MPICH/3.1.1
EasyBuild/1.13.0       INTEL/14.0.2           INTEL-140-MVAPICH2/2.0
--- some stuff deleted ---

The module names take the form appname/version/compiler, providing the application name, the version, and information about how it was compiled (if needed).

Managing Modules

Besides avail, there are other basic module commands to use for manipulating the environment. These include:

add/load mod1 mod2 ... modn . . . Add modules
rm/unload mod1 mod2 ... modn  . . Remove modules
switch/swap mod . . . . . . . . . Switch or swap one module for another
display/show  . . . . . . . . . . List modules loaded in the environment
avail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . List available module names
whatis mod1 mod2 ... modn . . . . Describe listed modules

The -h option to module will list all available commands.

Module is currently available only on SuperMIC.


  1. Set up your .soft file to select the library version, and the compilers you want to use for building and executing your code. Keep in mind that keys take effect in the order they appear. The following shows how to select the MPICH library and use it with the Intel C compiler. Do not simply copy them, as they are subject to change. Use the softenv command to verify them before use.
  2. +mpich-1.2.7-intel-11.1
  3. The compiler, mpicc, will use icc and link with mpich with no further ado.
  4. Run with: mpirun -machinefile $PBS_NODEFILE -np $NPROCS /path/to/executable
  5. An example PBS script can be viewed below.
  6. ▶ Open Example?
    # No shell commands until PBS setup is completed!
    # Provide your allocation code.
    # "workq" is the default job queue.
    #PBS -q workq
    # Set to your email address.
    # PPN should be 4, 8, 16, 20, etc., depending on machine/queue you are using.
    #PBS -l nodes=1:ppn=4
    # Set amount of time job may run in hh:mm:ss
    #PBS -l walltime=00:10:00
    # Have PBS pass all shell variables to the job environment
    #PBS -V
    # Send stdout and stderr to named files.
    #PBS -o MPI_test.out
    #PBS -e MPI_test.err
    # Give the job a name to make tracking it easier
    #PBS -N MPI_test 
    # Shell commands may begin here.
    # Your executable should either be in your path, or defined explicitly.
    # Here we'll assume a custom program named "hello" that exists in the
    # work directory:
    export EXEC=hello
    export WORK_DIR=/work/uname/path
    export NPROCS=`wc -l $PBS_NODEFILE |gawk '//{print $1}'`
    cd $WORK_DIR 
    # The order in which options are provided is important:
    mpirun -machinefile $PBS_NODEFILE -np $NPROCS $WORK_DIR/$EXEC 


  • Documentation site. You will have to use MPICH2 documentation and pay attention only to those features support by MPI-1.

Last modified: November 11 2014 16:58:42.