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The work in this paper focuses on providing malleability to MPI applications by using a novel performance-aware dynamic reconfiguration technique. This paper describes the design and implementation of Flex-MPI, an MN library extension which can automatically monitor and predict the performance of applications, balance and redistribute the workload, and reconfigure the application at runtime by changing the number of processes. Unlike existent approaches, our reconfiguring policy is guided by user-defined performance criteria. We focus on iterative SPMD programs, a class of applications with critical mass within the scientific community. Extensive experiments show that Flex-MPI can improve the performance, parallel efficiency, and cost-efficiency of MPI programs with a minimal effort from the programmer. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.