Evaluate an R Expression Asynchronously in a Separate Process
These functions are based on forking and so are not available on Windows.
mcparallel starts a parallel R process which evaluates the
mccollect collects results from one or more parallel processes.
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expression to evaluate (do not use any on-screen devices or GUI elements in this code).
an optional name (character vector of length one) that can be associated with the job.
logical: see section ‘Random numbers’.
if set to
either a numeric vector specifying CPUs to restrict
the child process to (1-based) or
list of jobs (or a single job) to collect results
if set to
timeout (in seconds) to check for job results – applies
mcparallel evaluates the
expr expression in parallel to
the current R process. Everything is shared read-only (or in fact
copy-on-write) between the parallel process and the current process,
i.e. no side-effects of the expression affect the main process. The
result of the parallel execution can be collected using
mccollect function collects any available results from parallel
jobs (or in fact any child process). If
collect waits for all specified jobs to finish before
returning a list containing the last reported result for each
checks for any results available at the moment and will not wait for
jobs to finish. If
jobs is specified, jobs not listed there
will not be affected or acted upon.
expr uses low-level multicore functions such
sendMaster a single job can deliver results
multiple times and it is the responsibility of the user to interpret
mccollect will return
NULL for a
terminating job that has sent its results already after which the
job is no longer available.
mc.affinity parameter can be used to try to restrict
the child process to specific CPUs. The availability and the extent of
this feature is system-dependent (e.g., some systems will only
consider the CPU count, others will ignore it completely).
mcparallel returns an object of the class
which inherits from
"childProcess" (see the ‘Value’
section of the help for
mcfork). If argument
name was supplied this will have an additional component
mccollect returns any results that are available in a list. The
results will have the same order as the specified jobs. If there are
multiple jobs and a job has a name it will be used to name the
result, otherwise its process ID will be used. If none of the
specified children are still running, it returns
mc.set.seed = FALSE, the child process has the same initial
random number generator (RNG) state as the current R session. If the
RNG has been used (or
.Random.seed was restored from a saved
workspace), the child will start drawing random numbers at the same
point as the current session. If the RNG has not yet been used, the
child will set a seed based on the time and process ID when it first
uses the RNG: this is pretty much guaranteed to give a different
random-number stream from the current session and any other child
The behaviour with
mc.set.seed = TRUE is different only if
RNGkind("L'Ecuyer-CMRG") has been selected. Then each
time a child is forked it is given the next stream (see
nextRNGStream). So if you select that generator, set a
seed and call
mc.reset.stream just before the first use
mcparallel the results of simulations will be reproducible
provided the same tasks are given to the first, second, ...
The serialized result from each forked process is limited to 2^31 - 1 bytes. (Returning very large results via serialization is inefficient and should be avoided.)
Simon Urbanek and R Core.
Derived from the multicore package formerly on CRAN. (but with different handling of the RNG stream).
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p <- mcparallel(1:10) q <- mcparallel(1:20) # wait for both jobs to finish and collect all results res <- mccollect(list(p, q)) p <- mcparallel(1:10) mccollect(p, wait = FALSE, 10) # will retrieve the result (since it's fast) mccollect(p, wait = FALSE) # will signal the job as terminating mccollect(p, wait = FALSE) # there is no longer such a job # a naive parallel lapply can be created using mcparallel alone: jobs <- lapply(1:10, function(x) mcparallel(rnorm(x), name = x)) mccollect(jobs)
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