OpenCilk task-parallel programming platform

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OpenCilk is a state-of-the-art open-source implementation of the Cilk task-parallel programming platform. OpenCilk supports writing fast parallel programs using the Cilk task-parallel language extensions to C/C++. In addition, OpenCilk provides a platform to develop compilers, runtime systems, and program-analysis tools for task-parallel code.

The OpenCilk system has three core components: a compiler, a runtime-system library, and a suite of Cilk tools.

The OpenCilk compiler is based on the LLVM compiler infrastructure. The OpenCilk compiler extends LLVM with Tapir, a compiler IR for task parallelism that enables effective compiler analysis and optimization of task-parallel programs. Tapir provides a generic representation of task-parallel control flow that is independent of the Cilk language and the runtime implementation.

The OpenCilk runtime library is based on the Cheetah runtime system. This runtime system schedules and load-balances the Cilk computation using an efficient randomized work-stealing scheduler. The scheduler offers a mathematical guarantee to schedule efficiently on the available parallel processors on a shared-memory multicore. Furthermore, the OpenCilk runtime system ensures that this theoretical efficiency is borne out in practice.

The OpenCilk tool suite includes two tools for analyzing Cilk programs. The Cilksan race detector implements an extension of the SP-bags algorithm to check a Cilk program’s execution on a given input for determinacy races. The Cilkscale scalability analyzer implements a parallel version of the Cilkview algorithm to analyze the parallel scalability of a Cilk program.

Although all OpenCilk components are integrated with each other, OpenCilk’s system architecture aims to make it easy to modify and extend individual components. OpenCilk’s tools use compiler-inserted instrumentation hooks that instrument LLVM’s IR and Tapir instructions. Furthermore, the OpenCilk compiler implements a general Tapir-lowering infrastructure that makes use of LLVM bitcode — a binary representation of LLVM IR — to make it easy to compile Cilk programs to use different parallel runtime systems. For more information, see the OpenCilk paper.