Using processor affinity in loop scheduling on shared-memeory multiprocessors

Evangelos P. Markatos, Thomas J. LeBlanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Loops are the single largest source of parallelism in many applications. One way to exploit this parallelism is to execute loop iterations in parallel on different processors. Previous approaches to loop scheduling attempted to achieve the minimum completion time by distributing the workload as evenly as possible while minimizing the number of synchronization operations required. In this paper, we consider a third dimension to the problem of loop scheduling on shared-memory multiprocessors: communication overhead caused by accesses to nonlocal data. We show that traditional algorithms for loop scheduling, which ignore the location of data when assigning iterations to processors, incur a significant performance penalty on modern shared-memory multiprocessors. We propose a new loop scheduling algorithm that attempts to simultaneously balance the workload, minimize synchronization, and co-locate loop iterations with the necessary data. We compare the performance of this new algorithm to other known algorithms by using five representative kernel programs on a Silicon Graphics multiprocessor workstation, a BBN Butterfly, a Sequent Symmetry, and a KSR-1, and show that the new algorithm offers substantial performance improvements, up to a factor of 4 in some cases. We conclude that loop scheduling algorithms for shared-memory multiprocessors cannot afford to ignore the location of data, particularly in light of the increasing disparity between processor and memory speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-400
Number of pages22
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Theoretical Computer Science


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