Expand description

A simple communication infrastructure providing typed exchange channels.

This crate is part of the timely dataflow system, used primarily for its inter-worker communication. It may be independently useful, but it is separated out mostly to make clear boundaries in the project.

Threads are spawned with an allocator::Generic, whose allocate method returns a pair of several send endpoints and one receive endpoint. Messages sent into a send endpoint will eventually be received by the corresponding worker, if it receives often enough. The point-to-point channels are each FIFO, but with no fairness guarantees.

To be communicated, a type must implement the Serialize trait when using the bincode feature or the Abomonation trait when not.

Channel endpoints also implement a lower-level push and pull interface (through the Push and Pull traits), which is used for more precise control of resources.


use timely_communication::Allocate;

// configure for two threads, just one process.
let config = timely_communication::Config::Process(2);

// initializes communication, spawns workers
let guards = timely_communication::initialize(config, |mut allocator| {
    println!("worker {} started", allocator.index());

    // allocates a pair of senders list and one receiver.
    let (mut senders, mut receiver) = allocator.allocate(0);

    // send typed data along each channel
    use timely_communication::Message;
    senders[0].send(Message::from_typed(format!("hello, {}", 0)));
    senders[1].send(Message::from_typed(format!("hello, {}", 1)));

    // no support for termination notification,
    // we have to count down ourselves.
    let mut expecting = 2;
    while expecting > 0 {

        if let Some(message) = receiver.recv() {
            use std::ops::Deref;
            println!("worker {}: received: <{}>", allocator.index(), message.deref());
            expecting -= 1;

    // optionally, return something

// computation runs until guards are joined or dropped.
if let Ok(guards) = guards {
    for guard in guards.join() {
        println!("result: {:?}", guard);
else { println!("error in computation"); }

The should produce output like:

worker 0 started
worker 1 started
worker 0: received: <hello, 0>
worker 1: received: <hello, 1>
worker 0: received: <hello, 0>
worker 1: received: <hello, 1>
result: Ok(0)
result: Ok(1)



  • Types and traits for the allocation of channels.
  • A type that can unpark specific threads.
  • Initialization logic for a generic instance of the Allocate channel allocation trait.
  • Configuration and events for communication logging.
  • Types wrapping typed data.
  • Networking code for sending and receiving fixed size Vec<u8> between machines.


  • A composite trait for types that may be used with channels.
  • Pulling elements of type T.
  • Pushing elements of type T.