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Title: Granularity in large-scale parallel functional programming
Author: Loidl, Hans Wolfgang
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis demonstrates how to reduce the runtime of large non-strict functional programs using parallel evaluation. The parallelisation of several programs shows the importance of granularity, i.e. the computation costs of program expressions. The aspect of granularity is studied both on a practical level, by presenting and measuring runtime granularity improvement mechanisms, and at a more formal level, by devising a static granularity analysis. By parallelising several large functional programs this thesis demonstrates for the first time the advantages of combining lazy and parallel evaluation on a large scale: laziness aids modularity, while parallelism reduces runtime. One of the parallel programs is the Lolita system which, with more than 47,000 lines of code, is the largest existing parallel non-strict functional program. A new mechanism for parallel programming, evaluation strategies, to which this thesis contributes, is shown to be useful in this parallelisation. Evaluation strategies simplify parallel programming by separating algorithmic code from code specifying dynamic behaviour. For large programs the abstraction provided by functions is maintained by using a data-oriented style of parallelism, which defines parallelism over intermediate data structures rather than inside the functions. A highly parameterised simulator, GRANSIM, has been constructed collaboratively and is discussed in detail in this thesis. GRANSIM is a tool for architecture-independent parallelisation and a testbed for implementing runtime-system features of the parallel graph reduction model. By providing an idealised as well as an accurate model of the underlying parallel machine, GRANSIM has proven to be an essential part of an integrated parallel software engineering environment. Several parallel runtime- system features, such as granularity improvement mechanisms, have been tested via GRANSIM. It is publicly available and in active use at several universities worldwide. In order to provide granularity information this thesis presents an inference-based static granularity analysis. This analysis combines two existing analyses, one for cost and one for size information. It determines an upper bound for the computation costs of evaluating an expression in a simple strict higher-order language. By exposing recurrences during cost reconstruction and using a library of recurrences and their closed forms, it is possible to infer the costs for some recursive functions. The possible performance improvements are assessed by measuring the parallel performance of a hand-analysed and annotated program.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Computer software & programming