A comparative analysis of parallel programming language complexity and performance

Steven P. VanderWiel, Daphna Nathanson, David J. Lilja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Several parallel programming languages, libraries and environments have been developed to ease the task of writing programs for multiprocessors. Proponents of each approach often point out various language features that are designed to provide the programmer with a simple programming interface. However, virtually no data exist that quantitatively evaluate the relative ease of use of different parallel programming languages. The paper borrows techniques from the software engineering field to quantify the complexity of three predominant programming models: shared-memory, message-passing and high-performance Fortran. It is concluded that traditional software complexity metrics are effective indicators of the relative complexity of parallel programming languages. The impact of complexity on run-time performance is also discussed in the context of message-passing vs. HPF on an IBM SP2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-820
Number of pages14
JournalConcurrency Practice and Experience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 1998


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