A few days ago I started playing with MPI, and I started wondering: "what's the difference between mpiexec and mpirun?" It turns out that the distinction is mostly historical. In the first MPI specifications, there was nothing defining how the executables should run. Implementors of the specifications created an mpirun executable, but each implementation had different switches and different behavior. The MPI2 standard filled this gap, but it was not possible to merge the different implementor-dependent behaviors that became established in the meantime. The solution was to standardize the utility name as mpiexec. As a consequence, MPI2 compliant implementations will generally have both: mpiexec to honor the standard, and mpirun to honor compatibility with their previous implementation.