A method and apparatus for communicating data in a highly distributed parallel processing computer architecture is described. The method comprises the steps of generating a globally unique ID in the I/O node for a data extent physically stored in the plurality of storage devices, binding the globally unique ID to the data extent, and exporting the globally unique ID to the compute nodes via the interconnect fabric. In one embodiment, the globally unique ID is generated from a globally unique I/O node identifier and a locally unique data extent identifier. A local entry point is generated in the compute node for the data associated with the globally unique ID, thereby presenting the globally unique ID as a device point in the compute node. In one embodiment, the step of exporting the globally unique ID to the compute nodes comprises the step of receiving a message from the compute node comprising a signature securely identifying it to the I/O node, authenticating the source of the message using the signature, and transmitting the globally unique ID comprising data specifying local access rights to the data represented by the globally unique ID from the I/O node to the compute node.