[R-sig-hpc] ANNOUNCE--Rdsm package, a threads-like environment for R

Norm Matloff matloff at cs.ucdavis.edu
Thu Mar 11 06:37:01 CET 2010

My long-promised Rdsm package is now on CRAN.  Some of you may recall
that I made a prototype available on my own Web page last July.  This is
the official version, much evolved since I released the prototype.

The CRAN description states:  

   Provides a threads-like programming environment for R, usable both on
   a multicore machine and across a network of multiple machines. The
   package gives the illusion of shared memory, again even across
   multiple machines on a network.

This is based on a similar package I wrote for Perl back in 2002.

Rdsm should complement the bigmemory package written by Mike Kane and
Jay Emerson.  As noted above and in my July announcement for my
prototype, Rdsm works across a network of machines, while bigmemory is
limited to multicore platforms.  On the other hand, bigmemory is capable
of handling huge data structures, which Rdsm is not.  Rdsm is intended
for parallel/distributed computing, while bigmemory is currently used
primarily for the problems its name implies.  However, if bigmemory is
used as a parallel R vehicle on a multicore machine, it may be faster
than Rdsm for some applications, given its direct use of bare shared
memory; typically, though, they should provide similar performance in
such contexts.  By the way, I have a prototype of an infrastructure
package to facilitate using bigmemory as a parallel R engine. 

Norm Matloff
University of California, Davis

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