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LAM is a good solution for networks of workstations, but has a number of usability problems. With some small changes, it has the possibility to become the ``PVM'' of the MPI world because of its ability to turn a network of workstations into a parallel computer. From the user's point of view, it does not go quite far enough in a few key areas. For instance, the ``virtual machine'' abstraction is incomplete: there is no easy way to find out what hosts are part of the virtual machine; the equivalent to ps requires a specification of node numbers; starting up a daemon when there is already one running kills the old one, rather than noticing that one is already running. LAM also hurts itself by using strange names -- such as wipe instead of something like lamhalt, putting include files in share/h instead of include, insisting on using the word ``schema'' whenever possible; commands that should be able to figure out the current machine state (e.g. wipe) require a schema when they should be able to figure out the information themselves.

Jack Dongarra
Sun Nov 9 14:03:51 EST 1997