Initialize the MPI execution environment


#include "mpi.h"
int MPI_Init(int *argc, char ***argv)

Input Parameters

argc Pointer to the number of arguments
argv Pointer to the argument vector

Command line arguments

MPI specifies no command-line arguments but does allow an MPI implementation to make use of them.

-mpiqueue print out the state of the message queues when MPI_FINALIZE is called. All processors print; the output may be hard to decipher. This is intended as a debugging aid.
-mpiversion print out the version of the implementation (not of MPI), including the arguments that were used with configure.
-mpinice nn Increments the nice value by nn (lowering the priority of the program by nn). nn must be positive (except for root). Not all systems support this argument; those that do not will ignore it.
-mpedbg Start a debugger in an xterm window if there is an error (either detected by MPI or a normally fatal signal). This works only if MPICH was configured with -mpedbg. CURRENTLY DISABLED. If you have TotalView, -mpichtv or mpirun -tv will give you a better environment anyway.
-mpimem If MPICH was built with -DMPIR_DEBUG_MEM, this checks all malloc and free operations (internal to MPICH) for signs of injury to the memory allocation areas.
-mpidb options Activate various debugging options. Some require that MPICH have been built with special options. These are intended for debugging MPICH, not for debugging user programs. The available options include:
        mem     - Enable dynamic memory tracing of internal MPI objects
        memall  - Generate output of all memory allocation/deallocation
        ptr     - Enable tracing of internal MPI pointer conversions
        rank n  - Limit subsequent -mpidb options to on the process with
                  the specified rank in MPI_COMM_WORLD.  A rank of -1
                 selects all of MPI_COMM_WORLD.
        ref     - Trace use of internal MPI objects
        reffile filename - Trace use of internal MPI objects with output
                  to the indicated file
        trace   - Trace routine calls


Note that the Fortran binding for this routine has only the error return argument (MPI_INIT(ierror))

Because the Fortran and C versions of MPI_Init are different, there is a restriction on who can call MPI_Init. The version (Fortran or C) must match the main program. That is, if the main program is in C, then the C version of MPI_Init must be called. If the main program is in Fortran, the Fortran version must be called.

On exit from this routine, all processes will have a copy of the argument list. This is not required by the MPI standard, and truely portable codes should not rely on it. This is provided as a service by this implementation (an MPI implementation is allowed to distribute the command line arguments but is not required to).

Command line arguments are not provided to Fortran programs. More precisely, non-standard Fortran routines such as getarg and iargc have undefined behavior in MPI and in this implementation.

The MPI standard does not say what a program can do before an MPI_INIT or after an MPI_FINALIZE. In the MPICH implementation, you should do as little as possible. In particular, avoid anything that changes the external state of the program, such as opening files, reading standard input or writing to standard output.

Signals used

The MPI standard requires that all signals used be documented. The MPICH implementation itself uses no signals, but some of the software that MPICH relies on may use some signals. The list below is partial and should be independantly checked if you (and any package that you use) depend on particular signals.



-mpedbg switch


Meiko CS2


ch_p4 device


The ch_p4 device also catches SIGINT, SIGFPE, SIGBUS, and SIGSEGV; this helps the p4 device (and MPICH) more gracefully abort a failed program.

Intel Paragon (ch_nx and nx device)


Shared Memory (ch_shmem device)


Note that if you are using software that needs the same signals, you may find that there is no way to use that software with the MPI implementation. The signals that cause the most trouble for applications include SIGIO, SIGALRM, and SIGPIPE. For example, using SIGIO and SIGPIPE may prevent X11 routines from working.


All MPI routines (except MPI_Wtime and MPI_Wtick) return an error value; C routines as the value of the function and Fortran routines in the last argument. Before the value is returned, the current MPI error handler is called. By default, this error handler aborts the MPI job. The error handler may be changed with MPI_Errhandler_set; the predefined error handler MPI_ERRORS_RETURN may be used to cause error values to be returned. Note that MPI does not guarentee that an MPI program can continue past an error.

No error; MPI routine completed successfully.
This error class is associated with an error code that indicates that an attempt was made to call MPI_INIT a second time. MPI_INIT may only be called once in a program.