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Parallel RangeΒΆ

Numba implements the ability to run loops in parallel, similar to OpenMP parallel for loops and Cython’s prange. The loops body is scheduled in seperate threads, and they execute in a nopython numba context. prange automatically takes care of data privatization and reductions:

from numba import autojit, prange

def parallel_sum(A):
    sum = 0.0
    for i in prange(A.shape[0]):
        sum += A[i]

    return sum

Here the variable sum is a reduction variable that is automatically summed at the end of the parallel loop.

Privatization rules are simple, in order of importance:

  • Variables that are operated on with inplace operators are reduction variables.

  • Variables that are assigned to are private to each thead

    • The variable will assume the sequentially last value after the loop. This is the equivalent of OpenMP’s lastprivate clause.
  • Variables that are only read are shared between all threads

The order above specifies that reductions trump privates, and privates trump shared variables:

def privatization_rules():
    reduction = 1.0
    private = 2.0
    shared = 3.0
    for i in prange(100):
        reduction += i      # The inplace operator specifies a sum reduction
        reduction -= 1
        reduction *= 4      # ERROR: inconsistent reduction operator!
                            # '*' is a product reduction, not a sum reduction

        print private       # ERROR: private is not yet initialized!
        private = i * 4.0   # This assignment makes it private
        print private       # Private is available now, this is fine

        print shared        # This variable is only ever read, so it's shared

    print reduction         # prints the sum-reduced value
    print private           # prints the last value, i.e. 99 * 4.0


Although prange introduces a nopython context, it does not actually release the GIL. In addition to not being able to use objects, it is invalid to try to obtain the GIL in the prange body or a function called from there. This will result in a deadlock.

Currently prange will use as many CPUs as detected by the multiprocessing module. It is likely that in the next release it will accept a num_threads clause to allow this to be parameterized. prange may also accept a schedule clause in the future to allow specifying how iterations should be scheduled.