- Actor model: Charm4py employs a simple and powerful actor model for concurrency and parallelism. Applications are composed of distributed Python objects; objects can invoke methods of any other objects in the system, including those on other hosts. This happens via message passing, and works in the same way regardless of the location of source and destination objects.
- Asynchronous: every operation, including remote method invocation, is executed asynchronously. This contributes to better resource utilization and overlap of computation and communication.
- Concurrency: multiple concurrency features are seamlessly integrated into the actor model, including couroutines, channels and futures, that facilitate writing in direct or sequential style. See the Introduction for a quick overview.
- Speed: The core Charm++ library is implemented in C/C++, making runtime overhead very low. A Cython module offers efficient access to the library. Charm++ has been used in high-performance computing for many years, with applications scaling to the world’s top supercomputers.
- Load balancing of persistent objects: distributed objects can be migrated by the runtime dynamically to balance computational load, in a way that is transparent to applications.
- Parallel tasks using a distributed pool of workers (which works across multiple hosts). Tasks are Python functions and coroutines. The framework supports efficient nested parallelism (tasks can create and wait for other tasks). Among the operations supported are large-scale parallel map (akin to Python multiprocessing’s map), and the ability to spawn individual tasks, which can be used to easily implement parallel state space search or similar algorithms. The runtime decides where to launch tasks and balances them across processes.
- High-performance communication: Charm4py offers a choice of multiple high-performance communication layers (when manually building the Charm++ library), including MPI as well as native layers for many high-performance interconnects like Cray GNI, UCX, Intel OFI and IBM PAMI, with features like shared memory and RDMA.