IBM Books

Hitchhiker's Guide

The Place for This Book in the Grand Scheme of Life, the Universe, and Everything...

If you are new to either message passing parallel programming or to the IBM Parallel Environment for AIX, you should find one or more sections of this book useful. To make the best use of this book, you should be familiar with:

This book is not intended to provide comprehensive coverage of the topics above, nor is it intended to tell you everything there is to know about the PE program product. If you need more information on any of these topics, the publications listed in "Encyclopedia Galactica" may be of some help.

On the other hand, if you're beyond the novice level in one or more of the topics covered in this book, you may want to skip over the associated sections. In this case, you can refer to "Encyclopedia Galactica" for publications that might cover these topics in more depth.

What's All This?

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a novel by Douglas Adams, there are many situations and states that are similar to those experienced by a person that is becoming familiar with PE. That's why we fashioned this book after Mr. Adams's....the parallels were obvious. We decided to include these references to make reading this book a little more pleasant. We hope you enjoy it. If not, please let us know by submitting the Readers' Comment form at the back of this manual, or by sending us comments electronically (see the Edition Notice on page ii for directions on how to do this). Since The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy material in this book is not technical in nature, we will not open customer-reported APARs (Authorized Program Analysis Reports) related to it.

The chapter titles in this book are taken directly from references within The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy For those unfamiliar with Mr. Adams' work, or if our references are less than obvious, the objective of each chapter is described below (so you don't think we've all gone completely mad).

The purpose of this book is to get you started creating parallel programs with PE. Once you've mastered these initial concepts, you'll need to know more about how PE. works. For information on the Parallel Operating Environment (POE), see IBM Parallel Environment for AIX: Operation and Use, Vol. 1 For information on PE tools, see IBM Parallel Environment for AIX: Operation and Use, Vol. 2.

What You Should Have While You Read this Book

Although you can get some basic information by reading this book by itself, you'll get a lot more out of it if you use it during an actual parallel session. To do this, you'll need one of the following:

The PE code samples in this book are available from the IBM RS/6000 SP World Wide Web site. These will also be useful as you go through this book. See "Getting the Books and the Examples Online" for information on accessing them from the World Wide Web.

It's probably a good idea to get the PE and other IBM manuals listed in "Encyclopedia Galactica" before you start. Depending on your level of expertise, you may want to look at one or more of the other books listed in "Encyclopedia Galactica" as well.

Typographic Conventions

This book uses the following typographic conventions:
Typographic Usage
Bold Bold words or characters represent system elements that you must use literally, such as commands, flags, and path names.

  • Italic words or characters represent variable values that you must supply.

  • Italics are also used for book titles and for general emphasis in text.

Constant width Examples and information that the system displays appear in constant width typeface.
<Ctrl-x> The notation <Ctrl-x> indicates a control character sequence. For example, <Ctrl-c> means that you hold down the control key while pressing <c>.

In addition to the highlighting conventions, this manual uses the following conventions when describing how to perform tasks. User actions appear in uppercase boldface type. For example, if the action is to enter the tool command, this manual presents the instruction as:


The symbol "*" indicates the system response to an action. So the system's response to entering the tool command would read:

* The Tool Main Window opens.

Encyclopedia Galactica

IBM Parallel Environment for AIX Publications

As an alternative to ordering the individual books, you can use SBOF-8588 to order the entire IBM Parallel Environment for AIX library

Related IBM Publications

Related Non-IBM Publications

National Language Support

For National Language Support (NLS), all PE components and tools display messages located in externalized message catalogs. English versions of the message catalogs are shipped with the PE program product, but your site may be using its own translated message catalogs. The AIX environment variable NLSPATH is used by the various PE components to find the appropriate message catalog. NLSPATH specifies a list of directories to search for message catalogs. The directories are searched, in the order listed, to locate the message catalog. In resolving the path to the message catalog, NLSPATH is affected by the values of the environment variables LC_MESSAGES and LANG. If you get an error saying that a message catalog is not found, and want the default message catalog:

export NLSPATH=/usr/lib/nls/msg/%L/%N

export LANG=C

The PE message catalogs are in English, and are located in the following directories:

If your site is using its own translations of the message catalogs, consult your system administrator for the appropriate value of NLSPATH or LANG. For additional information on NLS and message catalogs, see IBM Parallel Environment for AIX: Messages and IBM AIX Version 4 General Programming Concepts: Writing and Debugging Programs.

Accessing Online Information

In order to use the PE man pages or access the PE online (HTML) publications, the ppe.pedocs file set must first be installed. To view the PE online publications, you also need access to an HTML document browser such as Netscape. An index to the HTML files that are provided with the ppe.pedocs file set is installed in the /usr/lpp/ppe.pedocs/html directory.

Online Information Resources

If you have a question about the SP, PSSP, or a related product, the following online information resources make it easy to find the information:

Getting the Books and the Examples Online

All of the PE books are available in Portable Document Format (PDF). They are included on the product media (tape or CD ROM), and are part of the ppe.pedocs file set. If you have a question about the location of the PE softcopy books, see your System Administrator.

To view the PE PDF publications, you need access to the Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0.1. The Acrobat Reader is shipped with the AIX Version 4.3 Bonus Pack and is also freely available for downloading from the Adobe web site at URL

As stated above, you can also view or download the PE books from the IBM RS/6000 web site at The serial and parallel programs that you find in this book are also available from the IBM RS/6000 web site. At the time this manual was published, the full path was However, note that the structure of the RS/6000 web site can change over time.

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