Table of Contents Previous Section Next Section

12.6 Summary and Discussion

This chapter provides a framework for deriving parallel algorithms that use dynamic programming. It identifies possible sources of parallelism, and indicates under what conditions they can be utilized effectively.

By representing computation as a graph, we identify three sources of parallelism. First, the computation of the cost of a single subproblem (a node in a level) can be parallelized. For example, for computing the shortest path in the multistage graph shown in Figure 12.3, node computation can be parallelized because the complexity of node computation is itself Q(n). For many problems, however, node computation complexity is lower, limiting available parallelism.

Second, subproblems at each level can be solved in parallel. This provides a viable method for extracting parallelism from a large class of problems (including all the problems in this chapter).

The first two sources of parallelism are available to both serial and nonserial formulations. Nonserial formulations allow a third source of parallelism: pipelining of computations among different levels. Pipelining makes it possible to start solving a problem as soon as the subproblems it depends on are solved. This form of parallelism is used in the parenthesization problem.

Note that pipelining was also applied to the parallel formulation of Floyd's all-pairs shortest-paths algorithm in Section 10.4.2. As discussed in Section 12.4, this algorithm corresponds to a serial DP formulation. The nature of pipelining in this algorithm is different from the one in nonserial DP formulation. In the pipelined version of Floyd's algorithm, computation in a stage is pipelined with the communication among earlier stages. If communication cost is zero (as in a PRAM), then Floyd's algorithm does not benefit from pipelining.

Throughout the chapter, we have seen the importance of data locality. If the solution to a problem requires results from other subproblems, the cost of communicating those results must be less than the cost of solving the problem. In some problems (the 0/1 knapsack problem, for example) the degree of locality is much smaller than in other problems such as the longest-common-subsequence problem and Floyd's all-pairs shortest-paths algorithm.

    Table of Contents Previous Section Next Section