[concurrency-interest] Some interesting (confusing?) benchmark results

thurston at nomagicsoftware.com thurston at nomagicsoftware.com
Mon Feb 11 15:52:10 EST 2013


I made some initial attempts at using ForkJoin framework for some 
rather obvious recursively parallel use-cases, namely summing the 
elements of an int[] and also sorting an int[] (randomly filled).

The problem-sizes I used ranged from 1M - 10M.

I really enjoy using the framework and find it relatively easy to 
reason about my programs (if not necessarily the internals of the 
But I was disappointed with the results: in both cases they were slower 
than the corresponding Java serial implementation.

I completely understand the principle of YMMV, and I wasn't expecting 
2x speedup, but especially in the case of the sort, but I was expecting 
that ForkJoin would do at least a little better than the single-threaded 
version.  I guess what I'm asking is: are these results surprising?  
Does it mean I'm doing something wrong?

I'll give a brief description of my implementation:
single-threaded:  Arrays.sort(int[])

ForkJoin: I'm using a merge-sort, with THRESHOLD = 250 (arrived at by 

int[] compute()
if int[].length < THRESHOLD
     return insertionSort(int[])
left = new MergeSort(int[] //split in half)
right = new MergeSort(int[] //other half)
return merge(right.compute(), left.join())

The insertionSort() and merge() methods are just standard 
implementations; there is a bit of apples to oranges comparison since 
Arrays.sort() uses an optimized quicksort, but we're still talking 

Just ran it on my laptop:
Windows 7 64-bit
1.7.0_03; Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM 22.1-b02
Core 2 Duo==> 2 cores 2GHz

2M int[]:
single-threaded: ~330ms
ForkJoin (2 workers): ~390ms

Would appreciate any feedback and hopefully the #s are somewhat helpful 
(and please no scoffawing at my antiquated machine)


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