Advice regarding multiprocessing module

Abhinav M Kulkarni amkulkar at uci.edu
Mon Mar 11 06:57:49 CET 2013


Dear all,

I need some advice regarding use of the multiprocessing module. 
Following is the scenario:

  * I am running gradient descent to estimate parameters of a pairwise
    grid CRF (or a grid based graphical model). There are 106 data
    points. Each data point can be analyzed in parallel.
  * To calculate gradient for each data point, I need to perform
    approximate inference since this is a loopy model. I am using Gibbs
    sampling.
  * My grid is 9x9 so there are 81 variables that I am sampling in one
    sweep of Gibbs sampling. I perform 1000 iterations of Gibbs sampling.
  * My laptop has quad-core Intel i5 processor, so I thought using
    multiprocessing module I can parallelize my code (basically
    calculate gradient in parallel on multiple cores simultaneously).
  * I did not use the multi-threading library because of GIL issues, GIL
    does not allow multiple threads to run at a time.
  * As a result I end up creating a process for each data point (instead
    of a thread that I would ideally like to do, so as to avoid process
    creation overhead).
  * I am using basic NumPy array functionalities.

Previously I was running this code in MATLAB. It runs quite faster, one 
iteration of gradient descent takes around 14 sec in MATLAB using parfor 
loop (parallel loop - data points is analyzed within parallel loop). 
However same program takes almost 215 sec in Python.

I am quite amazed at the slowness of multiprocessing module. Is this 
because of process creation overhead for each data point?

Please keep my email in the replies as I am not a member of this mailing 
list.

Thanks,
Abhinav



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