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Bug introduced in 8.0 or earlier and fixed in 9.0.0


I'm having trouble with parallel evaluation of compiled functions. Here is a simple example illustrating the problem:

testwm = Compile[ {{x, _Real}, {n, _Integer}},
    Module[ {sum, inc}, sum = 1.0; inc = 1.0; 
    Do[inc = inc*x/i; sum = sum + inc, {i, n}]; sum], 
   CompilationTarget -> "WVM"];

Map[(testwm[1.5, 2000000] + $KernelID) &, 
  Range[2 $ProcessorCount]] // AbsoluteTiming
(*
==> {1.4290817, {4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 
  4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169}}
*)
ParallelMap[(testwm[1.5, 2000000] + $KernelID) &, 
  Range[2 $ProcessorCount]] // AbsoluteTiming
(*
==> {1.4210813, {10.4817, 10.4817, 9.48169, 9.48169, 8.48169, 
  8.48169, 7.48169, 7.48169, 6.48169, 6.48169, 5.48169, 5.48169}}
*)
ParallelEvaluate[testwm = Compile[ {{x, _Real}, {n, _Integer}},
        Module[ {sum, inc}, sum = 1.0; inc = 1.0; 
      Do[inc = inc*x/i; sum = sum + inc, {i, n}]; sum], 
     CompilationTarget -> "WVM"];];
ParallelMap[(testwm[1.5, 2000000] + $KernelID) &, 
  Range[2 $ProcessorCount], DistributedContexts -> None] // AbsoluteTiming
(*
==> {0.2760158, {10.4817, 10.4817, 9.48169, 9.48169, 8.48169, 
  8.48169, 7.48169, 7.48169, 6.48169, 6.48169, 5.48169, 5.48169}}
*)
ParallelEvaluate[ClearAll[testwm]];

From this example it's clear that DistributeDefinitons is not working properly, since ParallelMap offered no speed-up. It does not help even if I add an explicit call to DistributeDefinitons. If I compile the function on each kernel, then I get the expected speed increase.

Is this (another) bug or am I doing something wrong?

I'm using mma 8.0.1 on win7 64 bit.

PS: for non compiled functions everything works as expected:

testnc[x_, n_] := 
  Module[ {sum, inc}, sum = 1.0; inc = 1.0; 
   Do[inc = inc*x/i; sum = sum + inc, {i, n}]; sum];
Map[(testnc[1.5, 10000] + $KernelID) &, 
  Range[2 $ProcessorCount]] // AbsoluteTiming
(*
==> {0.5660324, {4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 
  4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169, 4.48169}}
*)
ParallelMap[(testnc[1.5, 10000] + $KernelID) &, 
  Range[2 $ProcessorCount]] // AbsoluteTiming
(*
==> {0.1210069, {10.4817, 10.4817, 9.48169, 9.48169, 8.48169, 
  8.48169, 7.48169, 7.48169, 6.48169, 6.48169, 5.48169, 5.48169}}
*)
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  • $\begingroup$ I can't reproduce your timing difference. The very first time you run ParallelMap, there is a time lag to launch the kernels. After that, I get the speed-up from ParallelMap of the kind that I would expect (roughly 5-fold on 6 cores). I am on Win 7 64 bit M8.0. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2012 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ if I try DistributeDefinitions[testwm];ParallelTable[{$KernelID, OwnValues[testwm]}, {i, 1, 4}], it appears that the definitions do get distributed $\endgroup$
    – acl
    Jun 1, 2012 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ @acl Not on my machine. I ran this on a fresh kernel. Do you have 8.0.1? $\endgroup$
    – Ajasja
    Jun 1, 2012 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ 8.0.1, yes. I have the same timing as you do, I was simply saying that if you do what I say, it does appear that the slave kernels know about the functions. Also t = Compile[{}, $KernelID]; ParallelTable[t[], {i, 1, 4}] $\endgroup$
    – acl
    Jun 1, 2012 at 17:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can confirm your findings on 8.0.4. DistributeDefinitions doesn't seem to like CompiledFunctions: after compiling, try DistributeDefinitions[testwm]; ParallelEvaluate@HoldForm[testwm // Evaluate] and you'll see the slave kernels still don't know about testwm. In contrast, With[{testwmcopy = testwm}, ParallelEvaluate[testwm = testwmcopy]]; works. Don't have time to look into this now but I suspect a bug in DistributeDefinitions (it wouldn't be the first...). FWIW behaviour in version 7 is as it should be. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2012 at 17:31

1 Answer 1

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Here's a quick workaround, so that one does not have to manually track which CompiledFunctions to distribute.

ClearAll[CompiledFunctionNames];
CompiledFunctionNames[pattern_] := 
  Select[Names["Global`*"], 
   MatchQ[Evaluate[Symbol@#], _CompiledFunction] &];

ClearAll[DistributeCompiledFunction]
DistributeCompiledFunction[name_] := 
  With[{copy = Symbol[name]}, 
   ParallelEvaluate[
    If[ MatchQ[Evaluate[Symbol@name], _Symbol],(*Print["Setting ",
     name];*)Evaluate[Symbol[name]] = copy]]];

ClearAll[DistributeCompiledFunctions];
DistributeCompiledFunctions[pattern_] := 
  DistributeCompiledFunction /@ CompiledFunctionNames[pattern];

and some rudimentary tests:

testwm = Compile[{{x, _Real}, {n, _Integer}}, 
   Module[{sum, inc}, sum = 1.0; inc = 1.0;
    Do[inc = inc*x/i; sum = sum + inc, {i, n}]; sum], 
   CompilationTarget -> "WVM"];
testwm1 = 
  Compile[{{x, _Real}, {n, _Integer}}, 
   Module[{sum, inc}, sum = 1.0; inc = 1.0;
    Do[inc = inc*x/i; sum = sum + inc, {i, n}]; sum], 
   CompilationTarget -> "WVM"];
a = 5; (*a non compiled symbol -- will not get destributed*)
(*see which compiled functions are in the current context*)
CompiledFunctionNames["Global`*"] 
DistributeCompiledFunctions["Global`*"];
(*distributing twice does not override previous definition*)
DistributeCompiledFunctions["Global`*"]; 
(*check if it worked*)
DeleteDuplicates@ParallelEvaluate@HoldForm[testwm // Evaluate]
DeleteDuplicates@ParallelEvaluate@HoldForm[testwm1 // Evaluate]
DeleteDuplicates@ParallelEvaluate@HoldForm[a // Evaluate]
ParallelMap[(testwm[1.5, 2000000] + $KernelID) &, 
      Range[2 $ProcessorCount], 
  DistributedContexts -> None] // AbsoluteTiming
ParallelEvaluate[ClearAll[testwm, testwm1]];

Disclaimer: I have not yet tested this extensively.

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