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Project Description

This is a simple python extension that lets you share numpy arrays with other processes on the same computer. It uses either shared files or POSIX shared memory as data stores and therefore should work on most operating systems.

Example

Here’s a simple example to give an idea of how it works. This example does everything from a single python interpreter for the sake of clarity, but the real point is to share arrays between python interpreters.

import numpy as np
import SharedArray as sa

# Create an array in shared memory
a = sa.create("shm://test", 10)

# Attach it as a different array. This can be done from another
# python interpreter as long as it runs on the same computer.
b = sa.attach("shm://test")

# See how they are actually sharing the same memory block
a[0] = 42
print(b[0])

# Destroying a does not affect b.
del a
print(b[0])

# See how "test" is still present in shared memory even though we
# destroyed the array a.
sa.list()

# Now destroy the array "test" from memory.
sa.delete("test")

# The array b is not affected, but once you destroy it then the
# data are lost.
print(b[0])

Functions

SharedArray.create(name, shape, dtype=float)

This function creates an array identified by name, which can use the file:// prefix to indicate that the data backend will be a file, or shm:// to indicate that the data backend shall be a POSIX shared memory object. For backward compatibility shm:// is assumed when no prefix is given. The shape and dtype arguments are the same as the numpy function numpy.zeros() and the returned array is indeed initialized to zero.

The contents of the array will not be deleted when this array is destroyed, either implicitly or explicitly by calling del, it will simply be detached from the current process. To delete a shared array and therefore reclaim system resources use the SharedArray.delete() function.

SharedArray.attach(name)

This function attaches the previously created array identified by name, which can use the file:// prefix to indicate that the array is stored as a file, or shm:// to indicate that the array is stored as a POSIX shared memory object. For backward compatibility shm:// is assumed when no prefix is given

The contents of the array will not be deleted when this array is destroyed, either implicitly or explicitly by calling del, it will simply be detached from the current process. To delete a shared array and therefore reclaim system resources use the SharedArray.delete() function.

SharedArray.delete(name)

This function destroys the previously created array identified by name, which can use the file:// prefix to indicate that the array is stored as a file, or shm:// to indicate that the array is stored as a POSIX shared memory object. For backward compatibility shm:// is assumed when no prefix is given

After calling delete, the array will not be attachable anymore, but existing attachments will remain valid until they are themselves destroyed.

SharedArray.list()

This function returns a list of previously created arrays stored as POSIX SHM objects, along with their name, data type and dimensions. At the moment this function only works on Linux because it accesses files exposed under /dev/shm. There doesn’t seem to be a portable method of doing that.

SharedArray.msync(array, flags)

This function is a wrapper around msync(2) and is only useful when using file-backed arrays (i.e. not POSIX shared memory). msync(2) flushes the mapped memory region back to the filesystem. The flags are exported as constants in the module definition (see below) and are a 1:1 map of the msync(2) flags, please refer to the manual page of msync(2) for details.

SharedArray.mlock(array)

This function is a wrapper around mlock(2): lock the memory map into RAM, preventing that memory from being paged to the swap area.

SharedArray.munlock(array)

This function is a wrapper around munlock(2): unlock the memory map, allowing that memory to be paged to the swap area.

Constants

SharedArray.MS_ASYNC

Flag for SharedArray.msync(). Specifies that an update be scheduled, but the call returns immediately.

SharedArray.MS_SYNC

Flag for SharedArray.msync(). Requests an update and waits for it to complete.

SharedArray.MS_INVALIDATE

Flag for SharedArray.msync(). Asks to invalidate other mappings of the same file (so that they can be updated with the fresh values just written).

Requirements

  • Python 2.7 or 3+
  • Numpy 1.8
  • Posix shared memory interface

SharedArray uses the posix shm interface (shm_open and shm_unlink) and so should work on most operating systems that follow the posix standards (Linux, *BSD, etc.).

FAQ

On Linux, I get segfaults when working with very large arrays.

A few people have reported segfaults with very large arrays using POSIX shared memory. This is not a bug in SharedArray but rather an indication that the system ran out of POSIX shared memory. On Linux a tmpfs virtual filesystem is used to provide POSIX shared memory, and by default it is given only about 20% of the total available memory, depending on the distribution. That amount can be changed by re-mounting the tmpfs filesystem with the size=100% option:

sudo mount -o remount,size=100% /run/shm

Also you can make the change permanent, on next boot, by setting SHM_SIZE=100% in /etc/defaults/tmpfs on recent Debian installations.

I can’t attach old (pre 0.4) arrays anymore.

Since version 0.4 all arrays are now page aligned in memory, to be used with SIMD instructions (e.g. fftw library). As a side effect, arrays created with a previous version of SharedArray aren’t compatible with the new version (the location of the metadata changed). Save your work before upgrading.

Installation

The extension uses the distutils python package that should be familiar to most python users. To test the extension directly from the source tree, without installing, type:

python setup.py build_ext --inplace

To build and install the extension system-wide, type:

python setup.py build
sudo python setup.py install

Contact

For updates and the browse the code, the canonical repository is: https://parad0x.org/git/python/shared-array/

Packages are also available on PyPi at: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/SharedArray

For bug reports, feature requests, suggestions, patches and everything else related to SharedArray, please contact the maintainer at: mat@parad0x.org.

Release History

Release History

2.0.2

This version

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2.0.1

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2.0

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1.0

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0.5

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0.4

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0.3

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0.2

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0.1

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Download Files

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File Name & Checksum SHA256 Checksum Help Version File Type Upload Date
SharedArray-2.0.2.tar.gz (12.2 kB) Copy SHA256 Checksum SHA256 Source Nov 22, 2016

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