for-loop iterations in parallel on workers
MATLAB® executes the loop body commands in
statements for values of
specifies a vector of integer values increasing by 1. If you have Parallel Computing Toolbox™, the iterations of
statements can execute on a parallel
pool of workers on your multi-core computer or cluster. As with a
for-loop, you can include a single line or multiple lines in
To find out how
parfor can help increase your throughput, see Decide When to Use parfor.
parfor differs from a traditional
the following ways:
Loop iterations are executed in parallel in a nondeterministic order. This means that you might need to modify your code to use
parfor. For more help, see Convert for-Loops Into parfor-Loops.
Loop iterations must be consecutive, increasing integer values.
The body of the
parfor-loop must be independent. One loop iteration cannot depend on a previous iteration, because the iterations are executed in a nondeterministic order. For more help, see Ensure That parfor-Loop Iterations are Independent.
You cannot use a
parfor-loop inside another
parfor-loop. For more help, see Nested parfor and for-Loops and Other parfor Requirements.
M to specify the maximum number of
workers from the parallel pool to use in evaluating
statements in the
M must be a nonnegative integer.
By default, MATLAB uses the available workers
in your parallel pool. You can change the number of workers on the
Home tab in the Environment section,
by selecting Parallel > Parallel Preferences. You can override the default number of workers in a parallel pool by using
parpool. When no workers are available in the pool or
M is zero, MATLAB still
executes the loop body in a nondeterministic order, but not in parallel. Use this syntax to
switch between parallel and serial execution when testing your code.
With this syntax, to execute the iterations in parallel, you must have a parallel pool
of workers. By default, if you execute
parfor, you automatically create
a parallel pool of workers on the parallel environment defined by your default profile. The
default parallel environment is Processes. You can change your
profile in Parallel Preferences. For more details, see Specify Your Parallel Preferences.
opts to specify the resources to use in evaluating
statements in the loop body. Create a set of
parfor options using the
parforOptions function. With this approach, you can run
parfor on a cluster without first creating a parallel pool and
parfor partitions the iterations into subranges for the
for-Loop Into a
parfor-loop for a computationally
intensive task and measure the resulting speedup.
In the MATLAB Editor, enter the following
for-loop. To measure the
time elapsed, add
tic n = 200; A = 500; a = zeros(1,n); for i = 1:n a(i) = max(abs(eig(rand(A)))); end toc
Run the script, and note the elapsed time.
Elapsed time is 31.935373 seconds.
In the script, replace the
for-loop with a
tic n = 200; A = 500; a = zeros(1,n); parfor i = 1:n a(i) = max(abs(eig(rand(A)))); end toc
Run the new script, and run it again. The first run is slower than the second run, because the parallel pool has to be started, and you have to make the code available to the workers. Note the elapsed time for the second run.
By default, MATLAB automatically opens a parallel pool of workers on your local machine.
Elapsed time is 10.760068 seconds.
Observe that you speed up your calculation by converting the
for-loop into a
parfor-loop on four workers.
You might reduce the elapsed time further by increasing the number of workers in your
parallel pool. For more information, see Convert for-Loops Into parfor-Loops
and Scale Up parfor-Loops to Cluster and Cloud.
parfor-Loops by Switching Between Parallel and Serial Execution
You can specify the maximum number of workers
M = 0 to run the body of the
loop in the desktop MATLAB, without using workers, even if a pool is open. When
= 0, MATLAB still executes the loop body in a nondeterministic order, but not
in parallel, so that you can check whether your
independent and suitable to run on workers. This is the simplest way to allow you to debug
the contents of a
parfor-loop. You cannot set breakpoints directly in
the body of the
parfor-loop, but you can set breakpoints in functions
called from the body of the
M = 0 to run the body of a
in the desktop MATLAB, even if a pool is open.
M = 0; % M specifies maximum number of workers y = ones(1,100); parfor (i = 1:100,M) y(i) = i; end
To control the number of workers in your parallel pool, see Specify Your Parallel Preferences and
Measure Data Transferred to Workers Using a
To measure how much data is transferred to and from the workers in
your current parallel pool, add
tocBytes(gcp) before and after the
gcp as an argument to get the
current parallel pool.
Delete your current parallel pool if you still have one.
tic ticBytes(gcp); n = 200; A = 500; a = zeros(1,n); parfor i = 1:n a(i) = max(abs(eig(rand(A)))); end tocBytes(gcp) toc
Run the new script, and run it again. The first run is slower than the second run, because the parallel pool has to be started, and you have to make the code available to the workers.
By default, MATLAB automatically opens a parallel pool of workers on your local machine.
Starting parallel pool (parpool) using the 'Processes' profile ... connected to 4 workers. ... BytesSentToWorkers BytesReceivedFromWorkers __________________ ________________________ 1 15340 7024 2 13328 5712 3 13328 5704 4 13328 5728 Total 55324 24168
You can use the
results to examine the amount of data transferred to and from the workers in a parallel
pool. In this example, the data transfer is small. For more information about
parfor-loops, see Decide When to Use parfor
and Convert for-Loops Into parfor-Loops.
parfor on a Cluster Without a Parallel Pool
Create a cluster object using the
parcluster function, and create a set of
parfor options with it. By default,
parcluster uses your default cluster profile. Check your default profile on the MATLAB Home tab, in Parallel > Select Parallel Environment.
cluster = parcluster;
parfor computations directly in the cluster, pass the cluster object as the second input argument to
When you use this approach,
parfor can use all the available workers in the cluster, and workers become available as soon as the loop completes. This approach is also useful if your cluster does not support parallel pools. If you want to control other options, including partitioning of iterations, use
values = [3 3 3 7 3 3 3]; parfor (i=1:numel(values),cluster) out(i) = norm(pinv(rand(values(i)*1e3))); end
Use this syntax to run parfor on a large cluster without consuming workers for longer than necessary.
loopVar — Loop index
Loop index variable with initial value
endVal. The variable can be any numeric
type and the value must be an integer.
Make sure that your
are consecutive increasing integers. For more help, see Troubleshoot Variables in parfor-Loops.
The range of the
parfor-loop variable must not exceed the
supported range. For more help, see Avoid Overflows in parfor-Loops.
initVal — Initial value of loop index
Initial value loop index variable,
loopVar. The variable can be any numeric
type and the value must be an integer. With
endVal, specifies the
parfor range vector, which must be of the form
endVal — Final value of loop index
Final value loop index variable,
The variable can be any numeric type and the value must be an integer.
initVal, specifies the
vector, which must be of the form
statements — Loop body
Loop body, specified as text. The series of MATLAB commands
to execute in the
You might need to modify your code to use
For more help, see Convert for-Loops Into parfor-Loops
Do not nest
parfor-loops, see Nested parfor and for-Loops and Other parfor Requirements.
M — Maximum number of workers running in parallel
number of workers in the parallel pool (default) | nonnegative integer
Maximum number of workers running in parallel, specified as a nonnegative integer. If you specify an upper limit, MATLAB uses no more than this number, even if additional workers are available. If you request more workers than the number of available workers, then MATLAB uses the maximum number of workers available at the time of the call. If the loop iterations are fewer than the number of workers, some workers perform no work.
parfor cannot run on multiple workers (for example, if only one core
is available or
M is 0), MATLAB executes the loop in a serial manner. In this case, MATLAB still
executes the loop body in a nondeterministic order. Use this syntax to switch between
parallel and serial when testing your code.
opts — parfor options
parfor options, specified as a
object. Use the
parforOptions function to create a
opts = parforOptions(parcluster);
cluster — Cluster
Cluster, specified as a
parallel.Cluster object, on which
parfor runs. To create a cluster object, use the
cluster = parcluster('Processes')
You have many loop iterations of a simple calculation.
parfordivides the loop iterations into groups so that each thread can execute one group of iterations.
You have some loop iterations that take a long time to execute.
Do not use a
parfor-loop when an iteration in your loop depends on the results of other iterations.
Reductions are one exception to this rule. A reduction variable accumulates a value that depends on all the iterations together, but is independent of the iteration order. For more information, see Reduction Variables.
When you use
parfor, you have to wait for the loop to complete to obtain your results. Your client MATLAB is blocked and you cannot break out of the loop early. If you want to obtain intermediate results, or break out of a
for-loop early, try
Unless you specify a cluster object, a
parfor-loop runs on the existing parallel pool. If no pool exists,
parforstarts a new parallel pool, unless the automatic starting of pools is disabled in your parallel preferences. If there is no parallel pool and
parforcannot start one, the loop runs serially in the client session.
AutoAttachFilesproperty in the cluster profile for the parallel pool is set to
true, MATLAB performs an analysis on a
parfor-loop to determine what code files are necessary for its execution, see
listAutoAttachedFiles. Then MATLAB automatically attaches those files to the parallel pool so that the code is available to the workers.
You cannot call scripts directly in a
parfor-loop. However, you can call functions that call scripts.
Do not use
parforloop because it violates workspace transparency. See Ensure Transparency in parfor-Loops or spmd Statements.
You can run Simulink® models in parallel with the
parsimcommand instead of using
parfor-loops. For more information and examples of using Simulink in parallel, see Running Multiple Simulations (Simulink).
Introduced in R2008a
- Decide When to Use parfor
- Convert for-Loops Into parfor-Loops
- Ensure That parfor-Loop Iterations are Independent
- Nested parfor and for-Loops and Other parfor Requirements
- Troubleshoot Variables in parfor-Loops
- Scale Up parfor-Loops to Cluster and Cloud
- Specify Your Parallel Preferences
- Run Parallel Simulations (Simulink)