APR ANNOUNCES SHAREWARE DISTRIBUTION OF FORGEX FORTRAN CODE BROWSER
Monday August 7, 1995
SACRAMENTO, CA -- Today, in a move that could greatly enhance how people work with Fortran programs, Applied Parallel Research (APR) announced it will begin shareware distribution of its Forge Explorer Code Browser on September 1st. On that date, the FORGEX binaries for five major workstation platforms (DEC, HP, IBM RS/6000, SGI and Sun) will become available on the internet via FTP and the WEB as described at the end of this article.
Users who download FORGEX will get a free 120-day trial period, during which they may use FORGEX as extensively as they wish. After the trial period, users are expected to register their copies to continue using FORGEX. University faculty and students will be permitted to extend the trial period indefinitely and continue using FORGEX for free. The nominal registration fee of $395/workstation is less than half of the previous list price. Customer support, bound manuals and upgrades will only be available to registered users, however.
"From our customers' input, we know that we have the best parallelization tools in the industry, so in order to broaden our base we want the world to get a taste of what real interactive analysis of Fortran programs can be," says John Levesque, President of APR. "While other organizations are just now investigating how to develop parallel tools, we want to establish the FORGE system as the standard. By making the foundation of APR's parallel toolset easily available, we intend to create a ground-swell of demand for our other tools. Down the road, we expect that many users will choose to take the next step up to our parallelizers, FORGEX/SMP and FORGEX/DMP."
APR's distributed memory (DMP) and shared-memory (SMP) parallelizers are available in both interactive and automatic forms, but will not be distributed as shareware. The interactive version of DMP is available as an add-on to the FORGEX browser and uses the same Motif GUI. SMP is being ported from an older GUI to Motif and will be released as a FORGEX add-on soon. By using DMP and SMP in combination, programmers may even do multi-level parallelization for hybrid systems such as distributed clusters of multiple shared-memory systems.
When asked to explain his company's radical change in marketing approach, APR's Vice President Gene Wagenbreth explained, "Even though APR and researchers such as Ken Kennedy's people at Rice University have been using global analysis for about a decade, most programmers and most Fortran compilers still look at programs one routine at a time. We want to change the way people think about their Fortran applications-- we want to help them think of the program as a whole and not just a collection of separate routines. We want them to expect and demand the performance benefits that can be achieved when compilers go beyond mere interprocedural analysis to true global analysis. Our strategy for long-term success is to increase understanding of, use of, and demand for global analysis. Then we will license APR's technology to be embedded in other vendor's Fortran compilers."
The FORGEX code browser is a powerful, global Fortran analysis tool with a Motif graphical user interface (GUI). The set of program units in an application (main program, subroutines and functions) is called a "package". After building the program database for a package, FORGEX gives the programmer global views and analysis of the package from several important perspectives.
First, FORGEX displays a calling tree showing program, routine and function names with embedded DO-loops. The static calling tree gives a rough idea of the computational complexity at each level in each call subchain. In order to gain a more precise profile of the computational resources spent in different parts of the application, FORGEX can be used to create a dynamic calling tree showing the percentage of CPU time spent at or below each node in the tree.
To view the dynamic call tree, a FORGEX user clicks on the code timing instrumentation feature. Next, the user saves the FORGEX-instrumented version of the application in a file. Then, in another window, the user simply compiles the instrumented file, links it with APR's timing library and runs the code on the target platform, saving the standard output (stdout) to a timing file. Returning to FORGEX, the user types the name of the timing file into a pop-up window and clicks on the option to view the calling tree with timing information. The call tree with percentages of CPU time is then displayed.
FORGEX also displays common block tables showing which common blocks have variables that are defined, set or used in each program unit. Clicking on a cell in the table causes a Set/Use table for each variable in the selected common block to appear. Clicking on a single variable causes a global trace of the variable to be shown, including all the statements in the package that set or use the variable, any of its aliases up or down the call chain, or any equivalenced aliases of the selected variable.
FORGEX can perform a global consistency check on common block definitions or, at the click of another option, reformat the entire application with re-sequenced statement labels and proper indentation (according to user-modifiable parameters).
A powerful query option allows the programmer to select variables from FORGEX's global database by a number of criteria including storage class, variable type, array shape and extent. Program statements can also be selected by any combination of several attributes.
On September 1, the shareware FORGEX distribution will be available through APR's web page at http://www.infomall.org/apri/. FTP users may ftp to ftp.infomall.org and find the shareware binaries beneath the tenants/apri directory.
APR is a leading supplier of software tools for Fortran program analysis, performance measurement, parallelization, restructuring, and dialect translation.
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APR Web Page: http://www.infomall.org/apri/
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