Version 1.5  
The S-Lang PVM Module


PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine) is a software package which permits a heterogeneous collection computers connected by a network to be used as a single large parallel computer.

The S-Lang PVM module provides a S-Lang interface to PVM. By organizing distributed computations with S-Lang, one gains the advantages of programming in an interpreted language.

With this approach, one can make efficient use of all available computer resources: high level logic is handled in interpreted code, CPU intensive work is done in compiled code and PVM simplifies using all available CPUs.

Selected Applications

  • Talk describing how the PVM module was used to speed up XSTAR model computations. The associated software is also available.
  • Paper describing results from a large-scale X-ray spectral mapping of the supernova remnant Cas A.
  • Paper giving examples in which the PVM module was used to speed up relatively routine but very CPU-intensive data analysis tasks.


The User's Manual is available here and is included with the source code distribution.

Although the PVM module provides access to a large number of PVM functions, the documentation of the S-Lang interface remains incomplete. However, because the S-Lang interface closely mirrors the documented PVM interface, the PVM documentation serves to answer most questions which arise in practice.


To use the PVM module, you must first ensure that the PVM package and the S-Lang library have been installed. The necessary files may be downloaded from the following sites:

This page is maintained by John C. Houck.   Last updated: Apr 8, 2012
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