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7.1 Estimate the time taken for each of the following in Pthreads:

  • Thread creation.

  • Thread join.

  • Successful lock.

  • Successful unlock.

  • Successful trylock.

  • Unsuccessful trylock.

  • Condition wait.

  • Condition signal.

  • Condition broadcast.

In each case, carefully document the method used to compute the time for each of these function calls. Also document the machine on which these observations were made.

7.2 Implement a multi-access threaded queue with multiple threads inserting and multiple threads extracting from the queue. Use mutex-locks to synchronize access to the queue. Document the time for 1000 insertions and 1000 extractions each by 64 insertion threads (producers) and 64 extraction threads (consumers).

7.3 Repeat Problem 7.2 using condition variables (in addition to mutex locks). Document the time for the same test case as above. Comment on the difference in the times.

7.4 A simple streaming media player consists of a thread monitoring a network port for arriving data, a decompressor thread for decompressing packets and generating frames in a video sequence, and a rendering thread that displays frames at programmed intervals. The three threads must communicate via shared buffers - an in-buffer between the network and decompressor, and an out-buffer between the decompressor and renderer. Implement this simple threaded framework. The network thread calls a dummy function listen_to_port to gather data from the network. For the sake of this program, this function generates a random string of bytes of desired length. The decompressor thread calls function decompress, which takes in data from the in-buffer and returns a frame of predetermined size. For this exercise, generate a frame with random bytes. Finally the render thread picks frames from the out buffer and calls the display function. This function takes a frame as an argument, and for this exercise, it does nothing. Implement this threaded framework using condition variables. Note that you can easily change the three dummy functions to make a meaningful streaming media decompressor.

7.5 Illustrate the use of recursive locks using a binary tree search algorithm. The program takes in a large list of numbers. The list is divided across multiple threads. Each thread tries to insert its elements into the tree by using a single lock associated with the tree. Show that the single lock becomes a bottleneck even for a moderate number of threads.

7.6 Improve the binary tree search program by associating a lock with each node in the tree (as opposed to a single lock with the entire tree). A thread locks a node when it reads or writes it. Examine the performance properties of this implementation.

7.7 Improve the binary tree search program further by using read-write locks. A thread read-locks a node before reading. It write-locks a node only when it needs to write into the tree node. Implement the program and document the range of program parameters where read-write locks actually yield performance improvements over regular locks.

7.8 Implement a threaded hash table in which collisions are resolved by chaining. Implement the hash table so that there is a single lock associated with a block of k hash-table entries. Threads attempting to read/write an element in a block must first lock the corresponding block. Examine the performance of your implementation as a function of k.

7.9 Change the locks to read-write locks in the hash table and use write locks only when inserting an entry into the linked list. Examine the performance of this program as a function of k. Compare the performance to that obtained using regular locks.

7.10 Write a threaded program for computing the Sieve of Eratosthenes. Think through the threading strategy carefully before implementing it. It is important to realize, for instance, that you cannot eliminate multiples of 6 from the sieve until you have eliminated multiples of 3 (at which point you would realize that you did not need to eliminate multiples of 6 in the first place). A pipelined (assembly line) strategy with the current smallest element forming the next station in the assembly line is one way to think about the problem.

7.11 Write a threaded program for solving a 15-puzzle. The program takes an initial position and keeps an open list of outstanding positions. This list is sorted on the "goodness" measure of the boards. A simple goodness measure is the Manhattan distance (i.e., the sum of x -displacement and y-displacement of every tile from where it needs to be). This open list is a work queue implemented as a heap. Each thread extracts work (a board) from the work queue, expands it to all possible successors, and inserts the successors into the work queue if it has not already been encountered. Use a hash table (from Problem 7.9) to keep track of entries that have been previously encountered. Plot the speedup of your program with the number of threads. You can compute the speedups for some reference board that is the same for various thread counts.

7.12 Modify the above program so that you now have multiple open lists (say k). Now each thread picks a random open list and tries to pick a board from the random list and expands and inserts it back into another, randomly selected list. Plot the speedup of your program with the number of threads. Compare your performance with the previous case. Make sure you use your locks and trylocks carefully to minimize serialization overheads.

7.13 Implement and test the OpenMP program for computing a matrix-matrix product in Example 7.14. Use the OMP_NUM_THREADS environment variable to control the number of threads and plot the performance with varying numbers of threads. Consider three cases in which (i) only the outermost loop is parallelized; (ii) the outer two loops are parallelized; and (iii) all three loops are parallelized. What is the observed result from these three cases?

7.14 Consider a simple loop that calls a function dummy containing a programmable delay. All invocations of the function are independent of the others. Partition this loop across four threads using static, dynamic, and guided scheduling. Use different parameters for static and guided scheduling. Document the result of this experiment as the delay within the dummy function becomes large.

7.15 Consider a sparse matrix stored in the compressed row format (you may find a description of this format on the web or any suitable text on sparse linear algebra). Write an OpenMP program for computing the product of this matrix with a vector. Download sample matrices from the Matrix Market ( and test the performance of your implementation as a function of matrix size and number of threads.

7.16 Implement a producer-consumer framework in OpenMP using sections to create a single producer task and a single consumer task. Ensure appropriate synchronization using locks. Test your program for a varying number of producers and consumers.

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