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Technical Report HW-MACS-TR-0096

Title Comparing Fork/Join and MapReduce
Authors Robert Stewart and Jeremy Singer
Date 2012-08-28
Abstract This paper provides an empirical comparison of fork/join and MapReduce, which are two popular parallel execution models. We use the Java fork/join framework for fork/join, and the Hadoop platform for MapReduce. We want to evaluate these two parallel platforms in terms of scalability and programmability. Our set task is the creation and execution of a simple concordance benchmark application, taken from phase I of the SICSA multicore challenge. We find that Java fork/join has low startup latency and scales well for small inputs (<5MB), but it cannot process larger inputs due to the memory limitations of a single multicore server. On the other hand, Hadoop has high startup latency (tens of seconds), but it scales to large input data sizes (>100MB) on a compute cluster. Thus we learn that each platform has its advantages, for different kinds of inputs and underlying hardware execution layers. This leads us to consider the possibility of a hybrid approach that features the best of both parallel platforms. We implement a prototype grep application using a hybrid multi-threaded Hadoop combination, and discuss its potential.
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