Reducing the run-time of MCMC programs by multithreading on SMP architectures
Proceedings, International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS)
The increasing availability of multi-core and multiprocessor architectures provides new opportunities for improving the performance of many computer simulations. Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations are widely used for approximate counting problems, Bayesian inference and as a means for estimating very highdimensional integrals. As such MCMC has found a wide variety of applications in fields including computational biology and physics, financial econometrics, machine learning and image
... earning and image processing. This paper presents a new method for reducing the runtime of Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations by using SMP machines to speculatively perform iterations in parallel, reducing the runtime of MCMC programs whilst producing statistically identical results to conventional sequential implementations. We calculate the theoretical reduction in runtime that may be achieved using our technique under perfect conditions, and test and compare the method on a selection of multi-core and multi-processor architectures. Experiments are presented that show reductions in runtime of 35% using two cores and 55% using four cores.