Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Low Depth Cache-Oblivious Algorithms

SGuy E. Blelloch, Phillip B. Gibbons*
Harsha Vardhan Simhadri

July 2009


Keywords: Cache-oblivious algorithms, sorting, sparse-matrix vector multiply, graph algorithms, parallel algorithms, multi-core, multiprocessors, schedulers, parallel tree-of-caches

In this paper we explore a simple and general approach for developing parallel algorithms that lead to good cache complexity on a variety of parallel cache architectures. The approach is to design nested parallel algorithms that have low depth (span, critical path length) and for which the natural sequential evaluation order has low cache complexity in the cache-oblivious model. We describe several cache-oblivious algorithms with optimal work, polylogarithmic depth, and sequential cache complexities that match the best sequential algorithms, including the first such algorithms for sorting and for sparse-matrix vector multiply on matrices with good vertex separators. Our sorting algorithm yields the first cache-oblivious algorithms with polylogarithmic depth and low sequential cache complexities for list ranking, Euler tour tree labeling, tree contraction, least common ancestors, graph connectivity, and minimum spanning forest.

Using known mappings, our results lead to low cache complexities on multi-core processors (and shared-memory multiprocessors) with a single level of private caches or a single shared cache. We generalize these mappings to a multi-level parallel tree-of-caches model that reflects current and future trends in multi-core cache hierarchies–these new mappings imply that our algorithms also have low cache complexities on such hierarchies. The key factor in obtaining these low parallel cache complexities is the low depth of the algorithms we propose.

24 pages

*Intel Research Lab, Pittsburgh

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