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The emergence of multi-core processors has made MPI intra-node communication a critical component in high performance computing. In this paper, we use a three-step methodology to design an efficient MPI intra-node communication scheme from two popular approaches: shared memory and OS kernel-assisted direct copy. We use an Intel quad-core cluster for our study. We first run micro-benchmarks to analyze the advantages and limitations of these two approaches, including the impacts of processor topology, communication buffer reuse, process skew effects, and L2 cache utilization. Based on the results and the analysis, we propose topology-aware and skew-aware thresholds to build an optimized hybrid approach. Finally, we evaluate the impact of the hybrid approach on MPI collective operations and applications using IMB, NAS, PSTSWM, and HPL benchmarks. We observe that the optimized hybrid approach can improve the performance of MPI collective operations by up to 60%, and applications by up to 17%.