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Scientific Programming
Volume 2, Issue 4, Pages 133-144

Parallel Object-Oriented Computation Applied to a Finite Element Problem

Jon B. Weissman,1 Andrew S. Grimshaw,1 and R.D. Ferraro2

1Department of Computer Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA
2Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

Received 29 April 1993; Accepted 29 April 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The conventional wisdom in the scientific computing community is that the best way to solve large-scale numerically intensive scientific problems on today's parallel MIMD computers is to use Fortran or C programmed in a data-parallel style using low-level message-passing primitives. This approach inevitably leads to nonportable codes and extensive development time, and restricts parallel programming to the domain of the expert programmer. We believe that these problems are not inherent to parallel computing but are the result of the programming tools used. We will show that comparable performance can be achieved with little effort if better tools that present higher level abstractions are used. The vehicle for our demonstration is a 2D electromagnetic finite element scattering code we have implemented in Mentat, an object-oriented parallel processing system. We briefly describe the application. Mentat, the implementation, and present performance results for both a Mentat and a hand-coded parallel Fortran version.