Friday, February 19, 2010

Limiting Parallelism

Concurrency can be a great way to speed things up, but what happens when you have too much concurrency? Overloading a system or a network can be detrimental to performance. Often there is a peak in performance at a particular level of concurrency. Executing a particular number of tasks in parallel will be easier than ever with Twisted 2.5 and Python 2.5:

from twisted.internet import defer, task

def parallel(iterable, count, callable, *args, **named):
coop = task.Cooperator()
work = (callable(elem, *args, **named) for elem in iterable)
return defer.DeferredList([coop.coiterate(work) for i in xrange(count)])

Here's an example of using this to save the contents of a bunch of URLs which are listed one per line in a text file, downloading at most fifty at a time:

from twisted.python import log
from twisted.internet import reactor
from twisted.web import client

def download((url, fileName)):
return client.downloadPage(url, file(fileName, 'wb'))

urls = [(url, str(n)) for (n, url) in enumerate(file('urls.txt'))]
finished = parallel(urls, 50, download)
finished.addCallback(lambda ign: reactor.stop())


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