Portals is a message passing interface intended to allow scalable, high-performance network communication between nodes of a parallel computing system. Portals is designed to operate on scales ranging from a small number of commodity desktops connected via Ethernet to massively parallel platforms connected with custom designed networks.
Portals attempts to provide a cohesive set of building blocks with which a wide variety of upper layer protocols (such as MPI, SHMEM, or UPC) may be built, while maintaining high performance and scalability. Many interfaces today either provide a simple mapping to hardware which may not be conducive to building upper layer protocols (InfiniBand/Open Fabrics Enterprise Distribution) or which are only a good fit for a subset of upper layer protocols (MX, PSM, MXM).
While the Portals development effort is led by Sandia National Laboratories, a number of institutions have played a critical role in its development. These include Intel Corporation, the Scalable Systems Laboratory at the University of New Mexico Computer Science Department, and System Fabric Works.