[R] smp in Linux

A.J. Rossini rossini at blindglobe.net
Mon Aug 28 17:44:32 CEST 2000

>>>>> "V" == Vlad  <pvlad at bigfoot.com> writes:

    V> Hello, I checked mail list archives and this topic came up
    V> before in March '99 (about ability of R to multithread).  At
    V> that time rossini at biostat.washington.edu (Tom Rossini)
    V> suggested to check his web page in a few month as it was on his
    V> list to-do.

I believe that some of the concerns that you have can be addressed by
a design via the Omegahat CORBA interface for R.

    V> Unrelated question: is the above possible with Splus v. 5?  (I
    V> did review the R FAQ but did not find this as one of the
    V> differences)

Nope.  I know there was once a variant of S4 with threads, but I'm not
sure what the status there was (last I tried, which was last spring,
it was broken, but for various reasons, see below, not really worth
following up on for me at the time.

It's really a design issue.  What I was interested at the time was
more of a PVM/MPI type interface; however, I've shown (at least to
myself) that a redesign of the problem will solve most of the problems
I was looking at using threads to solve.  (i.e. CORBA style

I'm sure Duncan can comment more, as I believe he's had a similar
revelation (and in fact started me down towards that conclusion).  I
know that some people are looking at threading R, but it's not clear
to me why that would be a win-win solution.

As far as threading within R, I'm sure some of the R-core people could
discuss this further, as well...

My advice is to step back and look at the problem and the design you are
contemplating, and evaluate numerous solutions.  Then ask yourself how
much (realistically, i.e. actually code a toy case out in Java or
pthreads/C[*]) and see what the gain is.  

It might be aesthetic, it might be "coolness", but it's not clear that
the gain will be in fact practical without the particular experiments
being done.  Threads and parallelization are nice, but aren't a
uniformly positive increase.

Not that it wouldn't be cool, but...?


(On vacation, until Sept 1).

A.J. Rossini				Rsrch. Asst. Prof. of Biostatistics
BlindGlobe Networks (home/default)	rossini at blindglobe.net	
UW Biostat/Center for AIDS Research	rossini at biostat.washington.edu	
FHCRC/SCHARP/HIV Vaccine Trials Net	rossini at scharp.org

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