MPI is the message-passing standard. Because it is a standard, it will not change over time; thus, we do not have to change PETSc every time the provider of the message-passing system decides to make an interface change. MPI was carefully designed by experts from industry, academia, and government labs to provide the highest quality performance and capability. For example, the careful design of communicators in MPI allows the easy nesting of different libraries; no other message-passing system provides this support. All of the major parallel computer vendors were involved in the design of MPI and have committed to providing quality implementations. In addition, since MPI is a standard, several different groups have already provided complete free implementations. Thus, one does not have to rely on the technical skills of one particular group to provide the message-passing libraries. Today, MPI is the only practical, portable approach to writing efficient parallel numerical software.