Abstract. Theoretical models are difficult to apply for the analysis of practical message passing systems used today. We propose a model which can be used for such an analysis. Our framework for message passing is in many ways similar to the framework for transactional database systems. The abstract message passing system is defined in our framework independently of hardware, operating system and means of communication. The interface between the application and the message passing system consists of four basic abstract message passing operations. The application can be written in any programming language, provided that the application’s communication primitives can be translated into semantically equivalent sequences of the basic message passing operations. We prove that a restricted version of our model is as powerful as the unbounded asynchronous channel model. We also prove that MPI, the Message Passing Interface, is in some sense weaker than our restricted model and therefore also than the unbounded asynchronous channel model.
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