Mon, 10 Mar 2008

PGApack 1.1: Almost as good as new

PGAPack is rather nice and fairly small library for 'parallel' optimisation via generic algorithms using the MPI message passing protocol. PGAPack 1.0 was written by David Levine while doing graduate work during the mid-1990s at Argonne Labs / University of Chicago.

PGAPack has also been in or around Debian for a rather long time, but it suffered from benign neglect in the last few years. Some of this came to the fore in this bugreport which lead to my offer to the then-maintainer Andreas to help on the relicencing request. After all, Argonne Labs is just a few miles from where I live, and I had already spent a little bit of time polishing and upgrading the package for my own exploratory use.

So I called Rusty Lust, head of the Mathematics and Computer Science section at Argonne to try to sort this out. He was sympathetic and put me in email contact with David Levine. As we are all somewhat busy, this dragged on for a little longer than we thought --- but as of today, about and a half years later, we have a new and shiny PGAPack 1.1 release, or around twelve years after the initial 1.0 version came out.

I have done a fair amount of polishing: there are now two library packages for serial use (i.e. for debugging) as well as parallel use via MPI. We use Open MPI where available and LAM where not. All open Debian bugs have been addressed. One minor issue in the postscript documentation remains as David can no longer locate his LaTeX sources; I may just have to extract the text and re-latex this from scratch to update it. One day.

Anyway, for full reference, the changelog entry is below. The package is currently in the NEW queue (as the new sub-package require manual inspection and approval) but should hit mirrors in a couple of days.

My thanks to the two previous Debian maintainers; to Rusty Lusk for helping with the from the end MSC department at Argonne Labs and for suggesting the rather liberal and easy MPICH2 license (and he happens to be one of the MPICH2 authors); and of course to David Levine for writing PGAPack in the first place, for agreeing to relicense it and giving valuable feedback on my repackaging of what is now version 1.1 on the MCS ftp server at Argonne --- this library has held up really well over the years; let's hope it will find more good use going forward.

pgapack (1.1-1) unstable; urgency=low

  * Really good news:  The MCS divsion of Argonne National Laboratories has
    agreed to relicense pgapack using the MPICH2 license. So pgapack
    is now Free Software and can move into Debian's main archive!
    Our thanks go to David Levine and Rusty Lusk to make this possible.
  * New maintainer, following Andreas' offer dated 2006-10-04 in #379388

  * debian/control: Change section to math		(Closes: #379388)
  * Added new brinary packages libpgapack-mpi1 and libpgapack-serial1
  * The MPI package is configured using Open MPI where available and LAM
    where not. 
  * debian/control: Changed Build-Depends: to use OpenMPI where available, 
    and LAM otherwise.
  * Finally acknowledges old NMUs 		(Closes: #379168,#359549)

  * source/integer.c: Apply patch for one-off error 	(Closes: #333381)

  * source/report.c:  Do not unconditionally print at generation 1
  * debian/rules: Remove a bashism 			(Closes: #379168)
  * debian/rules: Install examples directly 		(Closes: #134331)
  * debian/control: libpgapack-lam1 Depends on lam4 	(Closes: #60376)
  * debian/rules: Rewritten using debhelper
  * debian/control: Added Build-Depends: section for debhelper

  * No longer install mpi.h in /usr/include		(Closes: #404027)
  * debian/control: Updated Standards-Version: to current version

  * man/man1/PGAGetCharacterAllele.1: fix whatis entry 		(lintian)
 -- Dirk Eddelbuettel   Mon, 10 Mar 2008 18:03:34 -0500

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