fi_collective man page


Operation where a subset of peers join a new collective group.


Collective operation that does not complete until all peers have entered the barrier call.


A single sender transmits data to all peers, including itself.


Each peer distributes a slice of its local data to all peers.


Collective operation where all peers broadcast an atomic operation to all other peers.


Each peer sends a complete copy of its local data to all peers.


Collective call where data is collected from all peers and merged (reduced). The results of the reduction is distributed back to the peers, with each peer receiving a slice of the results.


Collective call where data is collected from all peers to a root peer and merged (reduced).


A single sender distributes (scatters) a slice of its local data to all peers.


All peers send their data to a root peer.


Returns information about which collective operations are supported by a provider, and limitations on the collective.


#include <rdma/fi_collective.h>

int fi_join_collective(struct fid_ep *ep, fi_addr_t coll_addr,
    const struct fid_av_set *set,
    uint64_t flags, struct fid_mc **mc, void *context);

ssize_t fi_barrier(struct fid_ep *ep, fi_addr_t coll_addr,
    void *context);

ssize_t fi_broadcast(struct fid_ep *ep, void *buf, size_t count, void *desc,
    fi_addr_t coll_addr, fi_addr_t root_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

ssize_t fi_alltoall(struct fid_ep *ep, const void *buf, size_t count,
    void *desc, void *result, void *result_desc,
    fi_addr_t coll_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

ssize_t fi_allreduce(struct fid_ep *ep, const void *buf, size_t count,
    void *desc, void *result, void *result_desc,
    fi_addr_t coll_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype, enum fi_op op,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

ssize_t fi_allgather(struct fid_ep *ep, const void *buf, size_t count,
    void *desc, void *result, void *result_desc,
    fi_addr_t coll_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

ssize_t fi_reduce_scatter(struct fid_ep *ep, const void *buf, size_t count,
    void *desc, void *result, void *result_desc,
    fi_addr_t coll_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype, enum fi_op op,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

ssize_t fi_reduce(struct fid_ep *ep, const void *buf, size_t count,
    void *desc, void *result, void *result_desc, fi_addr_t coll_addr,
    fi_addr_t root_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype, enum fi_op op,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

ssize_t fi_scatter(struct fid_ep *ep, const void *buf, size_t count,
    void *desc, void *result, void *result_desc, fi_addr_t coll_addr,
    fi_addr_t root_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

ssize_t fi_gather(struct fid_ep *ep, const void *buf, size_t count,
    void *desc, void *result, void *result_desc, fi_addr_t coll_addr,
    fi_addr_t root_addr, enum fi_datatype datatype,
    uint64_t flags, void *context);

int fi_query_collective(struct fid_domain *domain,
    fi_collective_op coll, struct fi_collective_attr *attr, uint64_t flags);



Fabric endpoint on which to initiate collective operation.


Address vector set defining the collective membership.


Multicast group associated with the collective.


Local data buffer that specifies first operand of collective operation


Datatype associated with atomic operands


Atomic operation to perform


Local data buffer to store the result of the collective operation.

desc / result_desc

Data descriptor associated with the local data buffer and local result buffer, respectively.


Address referring to the collective group of endpoints.


Single endpoint that is the source or destination of collective data.


Additional flags to apply for the atomic operation


User specified pointer to associate with the operation. This parameter is ignored if the operation will not generate a successful completion, unless an op flag specifies the context parameter be used for required input.


The collective APIs are new to the 1.9 libfabric release. Although, efforts have been made to design the APIs such that they align well with applications and are implementable by the providers, the APIs should be considered experimental and may be subject to change in future versions of the library until the experimental tag has been removed.

In general collective operations can be thought of as coordinated atomic operations between a set of peer endpoints. Readers should refer to the fi_atomic(3) man page for details on the atomic operations and datatypes defined by libfabric.

A collective operation is a group communication exchange. It involves multiple peers exchanging data with other peers participating in the collective call. Collective operations require close coordination by all participating members. All participants must invoke the same collective call before any single member can complete its operation locally. As a result, collective calls can strain the fabric, as well as local and remote data buffers.

Libfabric collective interfaces target fabrics that support offloading portions of the collective communication into network switches, NICs, and other devices. However, no implementation requirement is placed on the provider.

The first step in using a collective call is identifying the peer endpoints that will participate. Collective membership follows one of two models, both supported by libfabric. In the first model, the application manages the membership. This usually means that the application is performing a collective operation itself using point to point communication to identify the members who will participate. Additionally, the application may be interacting with a fabric resource manager to reserve network resources needed to execute collective operations. In this model, the application will inform libfabric that the membership has already been established.

A separate model moves the membership management under libfabric and directly into the provider. In this model, the application must identify which peer addresses will be members. That information is conveyed to the libfabric provider, which is then responsible for coordinating the creation of the collective group. In the provider managed model, the provider will usually perform the necessary collective operation to establish the communication group and interact with any fabric management agents.

In both models, the collective membership is communicated to the provider by creating and configuring an address vector set (AV set). An AV set represents an ordered subset of addresses in an address vector (AV). Details on creating and configuring an AV set are available in fi_av_set(3).

Once an AV set has been programmed with the collective membership information, an endpoint is joined to the set. This uses the fi_join_collective operation and operates asynchronously. This differs from how an endpoint is associated synchronously with an AV using the fi_ep_bind() call. Upon completion of the fi_join_collective operation, an fi_addr is provided that is used as the target address when invoking a collective operation.

For developer convenience, a set of collective APIs are defined. Collective APIs differ from message and RMA interfaces in that the format of the data is known to the provider, and the collective may perform an operation on that data. This aligns collective operations closely with the atomic interfaces.

Join Collective (fi_join_collective)

This call attaches an endpoint to a collective membership group. Libfabric treats collective members as a multicast group, and the fi_join_collective call attaches the endpoint to that multicast group. By default, the endpoint will join the group based on the data transfer capabilities of the endpoint. For example, if the endpoint has been configured to both send and receive data, then the endpoint will be able to initiate and receive transfers to and from the collective. The input flags may be used to restrict access to the collective group, subject to endpoint capability limitations.

Join collective operations complete asynchronously, and may involve fabric transfers, dependent on the provider implementation. An endpoint must be bound to an event queue prior to calling fi_join_collective. The result of the join operation will be reported to the EQ as an FI_JOIN_COMPLETE event. Applications cannot issue collective transfers until receiving notification that the join operation has completed. Note that an endpoint may begin receiving messages from the collective group as soon as the join completes, which can occur prior to the FI_JOIN_COMPLETE event being generated.

The join collective operation is itself a collective operation. All participating peers must call fi_join_collective before any individual peer will report that the join has completed. Application managed collective memberships are an exception. With application managed memberships, the fi_join_collective call may be completed locally without fabric communication. For provider managed memberships, the join collective call requires as input a coll_addr that refers to either an address associated with an AV set (see fi_av_set_addr) or an existing collective group (obtained through a previous call to fi_join_collective). The fi_join_collective call will create a new collective subgroup. If application managed memberships are used, coll_addr should be set to FI_ADDR_UNAVAIL.

Applications must call fi_close on the collective group to disconnect the endpoint from the group. After a join operation has completed, the fi_mc_addr call may be used to retrieve the address associated with the multicast group. See fi_cm(3) for additional details on fi_mc_addr().

Barrier (fi_barrier)

The fi_barrier operation provides a mechanism to synchronize peers. Barrier does not result in any data being transferred at the application level. A barrier does not complete locally until all peers have invoked the barrier call. This signifies to the local application that work by peers that completed prior to them calling barrier has finished.

Broadcast (fi_broadcast)

fi_broadcast transfers an array of data from a single sender to all other members of the collective group. The sender of the broadcast data must specify the FI_SEND flag, while receivers use the FI_RECV flag. The input buf parameter is treated as either the transmit buffer, if FI_SEND is set, or the receive buffer, if FI_RECV is set. Either the FI_SEND or FI_RECV flag must be set. The broadcast operation acts as an atomic write or read to a data array. As a result, the format of the data in buf is specified through the datatype parameter. Any non-void datatype may be broadcast.

The following diagram shows an example of broadcast being used to transfer an array of integers to a group of peers.

[1]  [1]  [1]
[5]  [5]  [5]
[9]  [9]  [9]
 |____^    ^

All to All (fi_alltoall)

The fi_alltoall collective involves distributing (or scattering) different portions of an array of data to peers. It is best explained using an example. Here three peers perform an all to all collective to exchange different entries in an integer array.

[1]   [2]   [3]
[5]   [6]   [7]
[9]  [10]  [11]
   \   |   /
   All to all
   /   |   \
[1]   [5]   [9]
[2]   [6]  [10]
[3]   [7]  [11]

Each peer sends a piece of its data to the other peers.

All to all operations may be performed on any non-void datatype. However, all to all does not perform an operation on the data itself, so no operation is specified.

All Reduce (fi_allreduce)

fi_allreduce can be described as all peers providing input into an atomic operation, with the result copied back to each peer. Conceptually, this can be viewed as each peer issuing a multicast atomic operation to all other peers, fetching the results, and combining them. The combining of the results is referred to as the reduction. The fi_allreduce() operation takes as input an array of data and the specified atomic operation to perform. The results of the reduction are written into the result buffer.

Any non-void datatype may be specified. Valid atomic operations are listed below in the fi_query_collective call. The following diagram shows an example of an all reduce operation involving summing an array of integers between three peers.

 [1]  [1]  [1]
 [5]  [5]  [5]
 [9]  [9]  [9]
   \   |   /
   /   |   \
 [3]  [3]  [3]
[15] [15] [15]
[27] [27] [27]
  All Reduce

All Gather (fi_allgather)

Conceptually, all gather can be viewed as the opposite of the scatter component from reduce-scatter. All gather collects data from all peers into a single array, then copies that array back to each peer.

[1]  [5]  [9]
  \   |   /
 All gather
  /   |   \
[1]  [1]  [1]
[5]  [5]  [5]
[9]  [9]  [9]

All gather may be performed on any non-void datatype. However, all gather does not perform an operation on the data itself, so no operation is specified.

Reduce-Scatter (fi_reduce_scatter)

The fi_reduce_scatter collective is similar to an fi_allreduce operation, followed by all to all. With reduce scatter, all peers provide input into an atomic operation, similar to all reduce. However, rather than the full result being copied to each peer, each participant receives only a slice of the result.

This is shown by the following example:

[1]  [1]  [1]
[5]  [5]  [5]
[9]  [9]  [9]
  \   |   /
     sum (reduce)
  /   |   \
[3] [15] [27]

The reduce scatter call supports the same datatype and atomic operation as fi_allreduce.

Reduce (fi_reduce)

The fi_reduce collective is the first half of an fi_allreduce operation. With reduce, all peers provide input into an atomic operation, with the the results collected by a single 'root' endpoint.

This is shown by the following example, with the leftmost peer identified as the root:

[1]  [1]  [1]
[5]  [5]  [5]
[9]  [9]  [9]
  \   |   /
     sum (reduce)

The reduce call supports the same datatype and atomic operation as fi_allreduce.

Scatter (fi_scatter)

The fi_scatter collective is the second half of an fi_reduce_scatter operation. The data from a single 'root' endpoint is split and distributed to all peers.

This is shown by the following example:

  /   |   \
[3] [15] [27]

The scatter operation is used to distribute results to the peers. No atomic operation is performed on the data.

Gather (fi_gather)

The fi_gather operation is used to collect (gather) the results from all peers and store them at a 'root' peer.

This is shown by the following example, with the leftmost peer identified as the root.

[1]  [5]  [9]
  \   |   /

The gather operation does not perform any operation on the data itself.

Query Collective Attributes (fi_query_collective)

The fi_query_collective call reports which collective operations are supported by the underlying provider, for suitably configured endpoints. Collective operations needed by an application that are not supported by the provider must be implemented by the application. The query call checks whether a provider supports a specific collective operation for a given datatype and operation, if applicable.

The name of the collective, as well as the datatype and associated operation, if applicable, and are provided as input into fi_query_collective.

The coll parameter may reference one of these collectives: FI_BARRIER, FI_BROADCAST, FI_ALLTOALL, FI_ALLREDUCE, FI_ALLGATHER, FI_REDUCE_SCATTER, FI_REDUCE, FI_SCATTER, or FI_GATHER. Additional details on the collective operation is specified through the struct fi_collective_attr parameter. For collectives that act on data, the operation and related data type must be specified through the given attributes.

struct fi_collective_attr {
    enum fi_op op;
    enum fi_datatype datatype;
    struct fi_atomic_attr datatype_attr;
    size_t max_members;
    uint64_t mode;

For a description of struct fi_atomic_attr, see fi_atomic(3).


On input, this specifies the atomic operation involved with the collective call. This should be set to one of the following values: FI_MIN, FI_MAX, FI_SUM, FI_PROD, FI_LOR, FI_LAND, FI_BOR, FI_BAND, FI_LXOR, FI_BXOR, FI_ATOMIC_READ, FI_ATOMIC_WRITE, of FI_NOOP. For collectives that do not exchange application data (fi_barrier), this should be set to FI_NOOP.


On onput, specifies the datatype of the data being modified by the collective. This should be set to one of the following values: FI_INT8, FI_UINT8, FI_INT16, FI_UINT16, FI_INT32, FI_UINT32, FI_INT64, FI_UINT64, FI_FLOAT, FI_DOUBLE, FI_FLOAT_COMPLEX, FI_DOUBLE_COMPLEX, FI_LONG_DOUBLE, FI_LONG_DOUBLE_COMPLEX, or FI_VOID. For collectives that do not exchange application data (fi_barrier), this should be set to FI_VOID.


The maximum number of elements that may be used with the collective.


The size of the datatype as supported by the provider. Applications should validate the size of datatypes that differ based on the platform, such as FI_LONG_DOUBLE.


The maximum number of peers that may participate in a collective operation.


This field is reserved and should be 0.

If a collective operation is supported, the query call will return FI_SUCCESS, along with attributes on the limits for using that collective operation through the provider.


Collective operations map to underlying fi_atomic operations. For a discussion of atomic completion semantics, see fi_atomic(3). The completion, ordering, and atomicity of collective operations match those defined for point to point atomic operations.


The following flags are defined for the specified operations.


Applies to fi_broadcast() operations. This indicates that the caller is the transmitter of the broadcast data. There should only be a single transmitter for each broadcast collective operation.


Applies to fi_broadcast() operation. This indicates that the caller is the receiver of broadcase data.


Applies to fi_query_collective. When set, requests attribute information on the reduce-scatter collective operation.

Return Value

Returns 0 on success. On error, a negative value corresponding to fabric errno is returned. Fabric errno values are defined in rdma/fi_errno.h.



See fi_msg(3) for a detailed description of handling FI_EAGAIN.


The requested atomic operation is not supported on this endpoint.


The number of collective operations in a single request exceeds that supported by the underlying provider.


Collective operations map to atomic operations. As such, they follow most of the conventions and restrictions as peer to peer atomic operations. This includes data atomicity, data alignment, and message ordering semantics. See fi_atomic(3) for additional information on the datatypes and operations defined for atomic and collective operations.

See Also

fi_getinfo(3), fi_av(3), fi_atomic(3), fi_cm(3)



Referenced By


The man pages fi_allgather(3), fi_allreduce(3), fi_alltoall(3), fi_barrier(3), fi_broadcast(3), fi_join_collective(3), fi_query_collective(3) and fi_reduce_scatter(3) are aliases of fi_collective(3).

2019-11-20 Libfabric Programmer's Manual Libfabric v1.9.1