DistArray 0.5

Think globally, act locally.

DistArray provides general multidimensional NumPy-like distributed arrays to Python. It intends to bring the strengths of NumPy to data-parallel high-performance computing. DistArray has a similar API to NumPy.

DistArray is ready for real-world testing and deployment; however, the project is still evolving rapidly, and we appreciate continued input from the scientific-Python community.

DistArray is for users who

  • know and love Python and NumPy,
  • want to scale NumPy to larger distributed datasets,
  • want to interactively play with distributed data but also
  • want to run batch-oriented distributed programs;
  • want an easier way to drive and coordinate existing MPI-based codes,
  • have a lot of data that may already be distributed,
  • want a global view (“think globally”) with local control (“act locally”),
  • need to tap into existing parallel libraries like Trilinos, PETSc, or Elemental,
  • want the interactivity of IPython and the performance of MPI.

DistArray is designed to work with other packages that implement the Distributed Array Protocol.


Dependencies for DistArray:

  • NumPy
  • IPython
  • Mpi4Py

Optional dependencies:

  • For HDF5 IO: h5py built against a parallel-enabled build of HDF5
  • For plotting: matplotlib

If you have the above, you should be able to install this package with:

python setup.py install


python setup.py develop

To run the tests, you will need to start an IPython.parallel cluster. You can use ipcluster, or you can use the dacluster command which comes with DistArray:

dacluster start

You should then be able to run all the tests from the DistArray source directory with:

make test

or from anywhere with:

python -m distarray.run_tests

Building the docs

Dependencies to build the documentation:

  • Sphinx
  • sphinxcontrib.napoleon
  • sphinxcontrib.programoutput

If you have the dependencies listed above, and you want to build the documentation (also available at http://distarray.readthedocs.org), navigate to the docs subdirectory of the DistArray source and use the Makefile there.

For example, to build the html documentation:

make html

from the docs directory.


make help

for more options.

Getting Started

To see some initial examples of what DistArray can do, check out the IPython notebooks and python scripts in the examples directory. To start, see the features notebook, also viewable on nbviewer.

If you have questions or would like to contribute, contact us

  • on the DistArray mailing list: distarray.googlegroups.com,
  • in the DistArray IRC channel: #distarray on freenode, or
  • through the DistArray GitHub repo: https://github.com/enthought/distarray (for bug reports and pull requests).


DistArray was started by Brian Granger in 2008 and is currently being developed at Enthought by a team led by Kurt Smith, in partnership with Bill Spotz from Sandia’s (Py)Trilinos project and Brian Granger and Min RK from the IPython project.

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