How much parallelism is there in irregular applications?

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Irregular programs are programs organized around pointer-based data structures such as trees and graphs. Recent investigations by the Galois project have shown that many irregular programs have a generalized form of data-parallelism called amorphous data-parallelism. However, in many programs, amorphous dataparallelism cannot be uncovered using static techniques, and its exploitation requires runtime strategies such as optimistic parallel execution. This raises a natural question: how much amorphous data-parallelism actually exists in irregular programs? In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of a tool called Para Meter that produces parallelism profiles for irregular programs. Parallelism profiles are an abstract measure of the amount of amorphous data-parallelism at different points in the execution of an algorithm, independent of implementation-dependent details such as the number of cores, cache sizes, load-balancing, etc. Para Meter can also generate constrained parallelism profiles for a fixed number of cores.We show parallelism profiles for seven irregular applications, and explain how these profiles provide insight into the behavior of these applications. © 2009 ACM.