Data parallelism

Parallelization across multiple processors in parallel computing environments / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Data parallelism is parallelization across multiple processors in parallel computing environments. It focuses on distributing the data across different nodes, which operate on the data in parallel. It can be applied on regular data structures like arrays and matrices by working on each element in parallel. It contrasts to task parallelism as another form of parallelism.

Sequential vs. data-parallel job execution

A data parallel job on an array of n elements can be divided equally among all the processors. Let us assume we want to sum all the elements of the given array and the time for a single addition operation is Ta time units. In the case of sequential execution, the time taken by the process will be n×Ta time units as it sums up all the elements of an array. On the other hand, if we execute this job as a data parallel job on 4 processors the time taken would reduce to (n/4)×Ta + merging overhead time units. Parallel execution results in a speedup of 4 over sequential execution. One important thing to note is that the locality of data references plays an important part in evaluating the performance of a data parallel programming model. Locality of data depends on the memory accesses performed by the program as well as the size of the cache.