Controlling MPI Detection#

By default, OpenMDAO will attempt to import the mpi4py module. If that fails, or if MPI.COMM_WORLD.size is 1, execution continues normally without MPI support.

Continuing can be problematic if MPI processing was intended, so this behavior can be modified by setting the environment variable OPENMDAO_USE_MPI:

  • A value of True (or Yes, 1, or Always; case-insensitive) will raise an exception if mpi4py fails to load. If successful, MPI will be used even if MPI.COMM_WORLD.size is only 1.

  • Any other value will prevent loading of the mpi4py module, disabling MPI usage. This can be useful when:

    • MPI is disallowed (e.g. certain HPC cluster head nodes)

    • Loading mpi4py causes unacceptable overhead

    • Displaying the warning message is undesirable

MPI Troubleshooting#

This section describes how to fix certain MPI related problems.

The following errors may occur when using certain versions of Open MPI:

Fix the There are not enough slots available in the system… error by defining


in your environment.

Fix the A system call failed during shared memory initialization that should not have… error by setting


in your environment.

MPI Testing#

Running OpenMDAO’s MPI tests requires the use of the testflo package. You must have a working MPI library installed, for example openmpi or MVAPICH, and the mpi4py, petsc4py, and pyoptsparse python packages must be installed in your python environment.