Active message

expand=July 2008
wikify=July 2008
expert=Computer Science
confusing=July 2008
jargon=July 2008
technical=July 2008

Active messages are a communications primitive for exploiting the full performance and flexibility of modern computer interconnects. They are often classified as one of the three main types of distributed memory programming, the other two being data parallel and message passing. The view is that Active Messages are actually a lower-level mechanism that can be used to implement data parallel or message passing efficiently.

The basic idea is that each message has a header containing the address of a userspace handler to be executed upon message arrival, with the contents of the message passed as an argument to the handler. Because the address of the handler must be known when composing the message, this mechanism is restricted to the SPMD programming model.

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