Opaque Domains and ArraysΒΆ

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This primer is designed to give a brief introduction to Chapel's opaque domains and arrays. Opaque domains and arrays are those in which index values are opaque/anonymous. They are designed to support unstructured arrays like graphs. They are a special case of associative domains and arrays.

module Opaque {

Opaque domains are declared by specifying the opaque keyword for the domain index type. In this example, we'll use an opaque domain to represent a group of people.

var People: domain(opaque);

Since opaque domains don't support logical index values, new indices are created by requesting them from the domain directly. So, to add our first three people to the People domain, we could use the following declarations:

var person1 = People.create();  // person1 inferred to be of type index(People);
var person2: index(People) = People.create();
var person3: index(opaque) = People.create();

Like other domain types, arrays can be declared using opaque domains and accessed using indices from the domain:

var Name: [People] string;

Name(person1) = "Barry";
Name(person2) = "Bill";
Name(person3) = "Bob";

Since opaque indices don't have logical values, printing an opaque domain is not particularly useful. An opaque array can be printed out like any other array. Like associative domains, there are no guarantees about the order in which elements will be printed.

writeln("People is: ", People);
writeln("Name is: ", Name);
writeln("Name(person2) is: ", Name(person2));

Similarly, the order in which opaque domain/array elements are accessed in a for loop is arbitrary, though it will not change between modifications to the domain:

for person in People do
  writeln("Name(person) = ", Name(person));

To help with this ordering issue, opaque domains support an iterator named sorted() which pre-sorts the values and traverses them in order. Needless to say, this costs extra time and space, so is meant only as a convenience.

writeln("Name (sorted) is: ", Name.sorted());

for name in Name.sorted() do
  writeln("Name (in sorted order) is: ", name);

Now let's say we want to use this opaque domain to describe a graph. In order to do this, we need to store opaque indices for each index in the domain. For example, let's assume that Barry is the father of Bill and Bob. We could represent this by declaring an array of indices from the People domain:

var Father: [People] index(People);

This declaration says "for every index in the People domain, store an index from the People domain. We can then assign this array like any other:

Father(person2) = person1;
Father(person3) = person1;

The default value of an opaque index is nil. Thus, having set up the Father relationship described above, we can print it out as follows:

for person in People {
  write("Father(", Name(person), ") is ");
  if (Father(person) == nil) {
  } else {

Next, let's create a Child array so that each person can refer to all of their children:

config const maxChildren = 16;

var NumChildren: [People] int;
var Child: [People] [1..maxChildren] index(People);

proc addChild(parent: index(People), child: index(People)) {
  const childnum = NumChildren(parent) + 1;
  NumChildren(parent) = childnum;
  Child(parent)(childnum) = child;

addChild(person1, person2);
addChild(person1, person3);

And now we can print out the child information:

for person in People {
  if (NumChildren(person) == 0) then
    writeln(" has no children");
  else {
    write("'s children are:");
    for i in 1..NumChildren(person) do
      write(" ", Name(Child(person)(i)));

Note that the graphs above have data associated with their nodes but not their edges. An interesting note about opaque domains/arrays is that in order to support graphs with data on both edges and nodes, a separate domain is required for the edges to support an array of edge data separately from vertex data.

As an example, the following code generates and prints a random graph.

Declare two domains, one for the vertices, one for the edges.

var Vertices: domain(opaque);
var Edges: domain(opaque);

config const numVertices = 5;

For each vertex, we'll store a string label, a count of its number of out edges, and its weight.

var Label: [Vertices] string;
var numOutEdges: [Vertices] int;
var VertexWeight: [Vertices] real;

We'll also store a list of the edges that lead out of it.

var outEdges: [Vertices] [1..numVertices] index(Edges);

For the edges, we'll store a weight...

var EdgeWeight: [Edges] real;

... and an indication of the vertices that they lead from and to.

var from, to: [Edges] index(Vertices);

Generate a random graph using the routine below.


Print out the graph from a vertex-centric point of view.

writeln("Vertex-oriented view of random graph");
for v in Vertices {
  // print out the vertex and its weight
  write(Label(v), " has a weight of ", VertexWeight(v), " and links to: ");
  // print the enumeration of its neighbors, if any
  if (numOutEdges(v) == 0) then
  else {
    for i in 1..numOutEdges(v) do
      write(" ", Label(to(outEdges(v)(i))));

Print out the graph from an edge-centric point of view.

writeln("Edge-oriented view of random graph");
for e in Edges do
  // for each edge, print out its weight, source, and sink
  writeln("an edge with weight ", EdgeWeight(e), " links from ", Label(from(e)),
          " to ", Label(to(e)));

Create a random graph using the global variables defined above.

proc createRandomGraph() {

  // create a random number stream
  // Note: example usage of the standard module Random can be found in
  // the primer randomNumbers.chpl, located in the current directory.
  // Uses the NPB random number generator for historical reasons.
  use Random;
  var myRandNums = makeRandomStream(real, seed=314159265,algorithm=RNG.NPB);

  // allocate all the vertices and assign them labels and random weights
  for i in 1..numVertices {
    const newVertex = Vertices.create();
    Label(newVertex) = "v" + i;
    VertexWeight(newVertex) = myRandNums.getNext();

  // iterate over all pairs of vertices
  for vi in Vertices {
    for vj in Vertices {
      // roll a random number; if it's between 0.5 and 1.0, add edge (vi, vj)
      if (myRandNums.getNext() > 0.5) {
        // allocate a new edge and give it a random weight
        const newEdge = Edges.create();
        EdgeWeight(newEdge) = myRandNums.getNext();

        // increment the number of out edges for the source vertex vi and add
        // the edge to its list of out edges
        numOutEdges(vi) += 1;
        outEdges(vi)(numOutEdges(vi)) = newEdge;

        // store the source and sink vertices for the edge
        from(newEdge) = vi;
        to(newEdge) = vj;

  delete myRandNums;
} // module Opaque