Parallel Computing For Managed Developers


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.NET 4.0 take on Parallel Tasks

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  • MESSAGING:Objectives for the session.
  • MESSAGING:It’s amazing how fast technology can sneak up on us. It’s important to remember that what we think is still years away from us is something that is actually already here and that we have to starting thinking about it now.
  • MESSAGING:Now this has a great impact on the capabilities of our applications. Thanks to the ever-increasing power of our computers, computing power has been on a steady incline. And for the most part, our applications have been able to track this computing power increase merely by relying on the fact that faster computers will be released that will, in turn, make their own applications faster (just by running on the faster hardware). In this world, sequential programming wasn’t a problem because the ever-increasing computer power allowed our sequential programs to keep on running faster and faster as new hardware was released.However, along this computing power trend, a shift was made to CPUs containing multiple cores. Computers now contained multiple cores, where each single core was slightly less powerful than a complete processor was before. And while it would be nice to think our applications could continue to follow the computing power trend just as they did before, that’s not reality.The reality is that if we continue to use the same programming models as we use today, our performance will plateau. Not only will it plateau, there is a possibility that performance will decrease a bit as many cores are introduced that each are just a little less powerful than their predecessors (for less power consumption, less heat dissapation, etc.). Cleary, new tools for us developers to write applications with are necessary.
  • MESSAGING:Today, concurrency usually has to be done by the brightest developers in a business. The problem with this is that the brightest developers are then being consumed by concurrency minutia rather than being able to be focused on core business problems and helping the business’s bottom line. By providing new libraries and tools that make it easy to write parallel code, we hope to allow the best and brightest developers focus on the business problems at hand. This in turn enables other developers to be able to address concurrency and parallelism.This is the long term goal of Microsoft with the Parallel Computing Initiative. Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 is merely the first step being taken in this direction.
  • MESSAGING:There are three primary improvement areas in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 that we will discuss in this talk: System.Threading improvements, introduction of Parallel Extensions to the .NET Framework, and a new unified cancellation model coming in .NET Framework 4.
  • MESSAGING:Several important new primitives coming to System.ThreadingBarrier and CountdownEvent make coordinating multithreaded code easier than it was beforeTechnical descriptions are boring and not the best candidate for learningLet’s learn Barrier and CountdownEvent through analogy
  • MESSAGING:The new Barrier synchronization primitive allows you to provide “sync-points” where all threads/tasks of execution meet at. Then, no threads/tasks continue until all of them have arrived at the barrier. This is a way that now you can easily introduce “check points” into your parallel operations if there are naturally areas where you want different execution units to meet. A Barrier can be re-used multiple times to issue many “check points” that could occur in the code.As an example, think about a road trip. If some friends are taking a road trip to Seattle, for instance, they might all meet at the gas station first. They shouldn’t leave the gas station until all of them arrive so they can leave together. In this case, the gas station itself could represent the barrier. There is a natural “check point” that occurs before all of them leave and start driving again to Seattle.
  • MESSAGING:A new unified cancellation model is being introduced with .NET Framework 4. This new model allows many different operations (like separate threads of execution, I/O calls, etc.) to be organized in such a way that they can all be cancelled with one simple call in a unified way (no matter what the operation itself is).The new CancellationTokenSource and CancellationToken constructs is what the new unified cancellation model is comprised of. The CancellationTokenSource is the core of this model. From a CancellationTokenSource, you can pass out as many CancellationTokens as you wish to various types of operations that are or are not happening in parallel. Then you can use the CancellationTokenSource to signify that everything needs to be cancelled by calling a Cancel() method. Then the cancellation is reflected in all the various tokens.One key aspect of this new model is that the individual tokens that are passed out have no way to signify cancellation themselves. There is also no way to get from a reference to a CancellationToken back to the original CancellationTokenSource. This is by design. When you are passing out tokens to as many operations as you need to in order to keep your cancellation unified, the last thing you want to do is to allow some random token to be able to signify a Cancel() request and then cancel all the other processing that is happening.Think of this another way, compare cancellation tokens by the devices handed out at some restaurants to signify that you (as the customer) are ready to be seated. Though you have the device in your hand, there is no possible way for you personally to make it go off (that would kind of defeat the purpose). The only party that can signal that you are “ready to be seated” is the restaurant itself. This is the same relationship the CancellationTokenSource and CancellationToken have to each other.
  • MESSAGING:Parallel Extensions is simply a .NET library (meaning, normal .NET code that can be used by any .NET-based language). It contains three different pieces: PLINQ, TPL, and CDS (System.Collections.Concurrent). Parallel Extensions addresses everything from declarative and imperative data parallelism, to imperative task parallelism.
  • MESSAGING:The task scheduler in Parallel Extensions is very smart and powerful. There are two aspects that make it so: the ability for different worker threads to “steal work” from other threads when there is work to be done, and the addressing of data locality when a thread is determining what work to actually do.When a thread needs to find more work to do, it looks in three different places (in the following order):It’s local queueThe global queueOther thread’s queues that have work to be doneIt’s important to know that data locality is addressed when a thread needs to grab more work to do:When pulling from the local queue, the worker pulls the last item added to the queue. This is because the last item added to the queue has the greatest chance of still being fresh in the cache, as opposed to older items which are more likely have expired and been flushed from cache.When pulling from another worker’s queue, the current worker pulls the oldest item added to the queue. This is because the oldest item added to the queue has the greatest chance of not being in the cache even for its local worker (and hence needing to load in anyways).
  • MESSAGING:With the introduction of the new Parallel static class, it becomes much easier to parallelize independent statements. The great thing is that if program statements are completely independent from each other (i.e. they don’t share any common shared stated between the various calls are require the calls to take place in a given order), they can easily be parallelized using the new Parallel.Invoke() method. There are other static methods declared off the Parallel class that make other parallel operations easy as well (like Parallel.For() and Parallel.ForEach(). We’ll take a look at some of these in the demo.So one might ask: “Well, if it’s that simple, why doesn’t the compiler just do this for automatically?” The problem is that it’s not quite that simple. In our world of imperative code and shared state, there’s no easy way to guarantee that these methods being called don’t have some sort of state somewhere that they are sharing. It could be five method calls deep, it could be ten, it could be more. You, as the developer, are the one with the necessary knowledge to know where this is true. Therefore, Parallel.Invoke() is strictly an opt-in process. Otherwise, we could do more damage than good.
  • MESSAGING:PLINQ is a technology that allows developers to _easily_ leveragemanycore. The great thing about PLINQ is that if you are using LINQ-to-objects, there is a very minimal impact to your code in order for it to use PLINQ. All it takes to use PLINQ is adding “.AsParallel()” to your query. This will turn the query into a PLINQ query and will use the PLINQ execution engine when executed.One small change, and your code now takes advantage of all the hardware available to you.NOTES:AsParallel() works by returning an IParallelEnumerable so every subsequent query operator works against the new IParallelEnumerable rather than the normal IEnumerable. See the hands-on lab for Parallel Extensions for more details.
  • MESSAGING:So to recap, parallel computing enhancements for managed developers in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 are comprised of three different areas: System.Threading improvements, introduction of Parallel Extensions to the .NET Framework, and the newly introduced unified cancellation model (CancellationToken/CancellationTokenSource).
  • Questions?
  • Parallel Computing For Managed Developers

    1. 1. Visual Studio 2010 and.NET Framework 4Training Workshop
    2. 2. Parallel Computing for Managed DevelopersNameTitleOrganizationEmail
    3. 3. ObjectivesUnderstand the importance of the “parallelcomputing shift”Understand the technologies introduced in the .NETFramework 4 that are easing this transition
    4. 4. “I used to think that cyberspace was fifty years away. What I thought was fifty years away, was only ten years away. And what I thought was ten years away... it was already here. I just wasnt aware of it yet.” - Bruce Sterling
    5. 5. Baby Names
    6. 6. “Moore’s Law scaling should easily let us hit the 80-core mark in mainstream processors within the next ten years and quite possibly even sooner.” - Justin Ratner, CTO, Intel
    7. 7. The Parallel Computing Initiative Letting the brightest developers solve business problems, not concurrency problems. “Concurrency for the masses”
    8. 8. Concurrency LandscapeFor Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4… System.Threading Parallel Extensions Unified Cancellation Model
    9. 9. New System.Threading PrimitivesA Barrier is a synchronization primitive that enforces the stopping of execution between a number of threads or processes at a given point and prevents further execution until all threads or processors YUCK! have reached the given point.A CountdownEvent is a synchronization primitive that enables ongoing tracking of a given workload in order to determine if processing of that workload is finished or not.
    10. 10. Barrier“Let’s all caravan over to Seattle! We’ll meet at the gas station and leave from there.” - Charlie Dennis Mac BarrierCharlie Gas Station Seattle
    11. 11. Unified Cancellation“Sir, we are ready to seat you…” - Hostess Cancellation Token Source Cancellation Token
    12. 12. System.Threading and the new Unified Cancellation Model
    13. 13. Parallel Extensions is a .NET Library that supports declarative and imperative data parallelism, imperative task parallelism, and a set of data structures that make coordination easier. 1. Parallel LINQ (PLINQ) 2. Task Parallel Library (TPL) 3. Coordination Data Structures (CDS)
    14. 14. From Threads To Tasks
    15. 15. “Work Stealing” in Action Worker Worker Thread 1 Thread p Program Thread Task 3Task 1 Task 4Task 5 Task 2
    16. 16. Parallel Static ClassWhen program statements are independent… StatementA(); StatementB(); StatementC(); …they can be parallelized Parallel.Invoke( () => StatementA(), () => StatementB(), () => StatementC() );
    17. 17. Parallel Static Class
    18. 18. PLINQParallel LINQ (PLINQ) enables developers to easily leverage manycore with a minimal impact to existing LINQ programming model var q = from p in people.AsParallel() where p.Name == queryInfo.Name && p.State == queryInfo.State && p.Year >= yearStart && p.Year <= yearEnd orderby p.Year ascending select p;
    19. 19. PLINQ
    20. 20. RecapFor Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0… System.Threading Parallel Extensions Unified Cancellation Model