Principles of Programming Seminar

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm


8102 Gates & Hillman Centers


MIKE RAINEY, Researcher

A classic problem in parallel computing is determining whether to execute a thread in parallel or sequentially. If small threads are executed in parallel, the overheads due to thread creation can overwhelm the benefits of parallelism, resulting in suboptimal efficiency and performance.  If large threads are executed sequentially, processors may spin idle, resulting again in suboptimal efficiency and performance. This granularity problem is especially important in implicitly parallel languages, where the programmer expresses all potential for parallelism, leaving it to the system to exploit parallelism by creating threads as necessary. Although this problem has been identified as an important problem, it is not well understood. Broadly applicable solutions remain elusive. In this talk, I present results from two of our studies, one that addresses all fork-join programs and another for a particular graph-traversal algorithm that falls outside the fork-join model. The former is a language-based approach for controlling granularity automatically, and the latter one challenging algorithm. I will first cover the main results from the former publication and then go into more depth on the latter. In both cases, we have established theoretical bounds showing the effectiveness of our techniques in realistic cost models, and we have performed experiments to test our granularity-control techniques in Parallel ML and C++. — Mike Rainey is a researcher at Inria in Paris. Previously, he was a postdoc in Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where he was supervised by Umut Acar. Before that, he completed his PhD at the University of Chicago, under the supervision of John Reppy. Faculty Host: Umut Acar

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