The conventional wisdom in the scientific computing community is that the best way to solve large-scale numerically intensive scientific problems on today's parallel MIMD computers is to use Fortran or C programmed in a data-parallel style using low-level message-passing primitives. This approach inevitably leads to nonportable codes and extensive development time, and restricts parallel programming to the domain of the expert programmer. We believe that these problems are not inherent to parallel computing but are the result of the programming tools used. We will show that comparable performance can be achieved with little effort if better tools that present higher level abstractions are used. The vehicle for our demonstration is a 2D electromagnetic finite element scattering code we have implemented in Mentat, an object-oriented parallel processing system. We briefly describe the application. Mentat, the implementation, and present performance results for both a Mentat and a hand-coded parallel Fortran version.
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