PFunc is built on the philosophy that not all tasks are created the same. As a results, PFunc provides the users control over the execution of each individual task using the attribute mechanism. In PFunc, a task has many attributes, and are summarized below:

  • Priority: When the scheduling policy under use utilizes task priorities (eg., prioS or proxS), the value of this attribute is used for scheduling purposes.
  • Queue number: The value of this attribute determines the task queue on which the associated spawned task is put. By default, a task is spawned on the queue of the thread that is executing the spawning task. This is standard practice in existing task parallel solutions such as Cilk and TBB.
  • Num waiters: By default, each task's completion status is delivered to only one waiting task (usually the spawning task). However, users can enable the delivery of multiple task completion notifications by setting this attribute to a value greater than 1.
  • Grouped: The value to this attribute determines if the spawned task is associated with a group or not. By default, a tasks are not attached to the group they are spawned with. To attach a task to the group, users should turn set the value of this attribute to true.
  • Nested: By default, all tasks are nested. In fact, nested parallelism is one of the founding principles of task parallelism. Without nesting, it would be difficult to have a large number of tasks be executed in parallel by a small number of threads. However, users can turn off nested parallelism on a task by task basis by unsetting this attribute.


Attributes in C++ are manipulated through objects of type attribute. The following example depicts how one can enable multiple completion notifications using task attributes.

/* Function object that is to be executed */
struct my_func_obj {
  void operator () { ... }

/* Library instance description */
typedef pfunc::generator<cilkS, /* scheduling policy */
                         pfunc::use_default, /* compare */
                         my_func_obj> my_pfunc; /*function object*/

const unsigned int num_queues = 4;
const unsigned int threads_per_queue[] = {1, 1, 1, 1};

/* Initialize the library */
my_pfunc::taskmgr cilk_tmanager (num_queues, threads_per_queue);

/* Set the number of waiters for this task to be 4 */
my_pfunc::attribute my_attr;
pfunc::attr_num_waiters_set (my_attr, 4);

my_pfunc::task my_task;

/* Spawn the task */
pfunc::spawn (cilk_tmanager, my_task, my_attr, my_func_obj());


/* Wait for the task to complete */
pfunc::wait (cilk_tmanager, my_task);

The first portion of the code shown in the above example reinforces the notion of generating the library instance description and initializing a global object of type taskmgr. In order to ensure that the right typeof taskmgr is initialized. In our example, we have chosen Cilk-style scheduling and initialized the library with 4 threads with each thread having its own task queue. Next, we set up the task to deliver 4 task completion notifications. Therefore, 4 tasks can wait on the completion of this task. This is done using the function pfunc::attr_num_waiters_set. The other functions that can be used to manipulate task attributes are:

Function Explanation Values
attr_priority_set Set task's priority Depends on type
attr_priority_get Get task's priority Eg., if priority == int then, MIN_INT to MAX_INT
attr_queue_num_set Set task's queue number 0 to num_queues-1
attr_queue_num_get Get task's queue number
attr_num_waiters_set Set task's completion notification number 1 to num_tasks
attr_num_waiters_get Get task's completion notification number
attr_grouped_set Set task's grouped attribute true, false
attr_grouped_get Get task's grouped attribute
attr_nested_set Set task's nested attribute true, false
attr_nested_get Get task's nested attribute
pfunc_<schedpolicy>_attr_init Initialize the C group
pfunc_<schedpolicy>_attr_clear Clear the C group

C++ functions (first 10) that are use to set and get the various attributes associated with each task. Their C counterparts can be deduced by adding the prefix pfunc_<schedpolicy>_. For example, the C equivalent of the function attr_priority_set for Cilk-style scheduling is pfunc_cilk_attr_priority_set. Note that in C, task priorities are limited to be ints. The last two functions are strictly C and are required to initialize an clear the attribute structure.

If it suffices to have a task be executed using default values for all the attributes, no object of type attribute is needed to spawn such a task. In these cases, default values are used.


The only additional step required in case of using the C interface is the initialization of the object of type attribute. This is required for all PFunc types when using the C interface as they are mere pointers to C++ objects. The equivalent code of the C++ example described in the previous section is shown below.

/* Function object that is to be executed */
void my_func (void* arg) { ... }

const unsigned int num_queues = 4;
const unsigned int threads_per_queue[] = {1, 1, 1, 1};
pfunc_cilk_taskmgr_t cilk_tmanager;

/* Initialize the library */
pfunc_cilk_taskmgr_init (&cilk_tmanager, num_queues, threads_per_queue, NULL);

/* Set the number of waiters for this task to be 4 */
pfunc_cilk_attr_t my_attr;
pfunc_cilk_attr_init (&my_attr);
pfunc_cilk_attr_num_waiters_set (my_attr, 4);

/* Create the task handle */
pfunc_cilk_task_t my_task;

/* Spawn the task */
pfunc_cilk_spawn_c (cilk_tmanager, my_task, my_attr, NULL /*group*/, my_func, NULL /*arg*/);

/* Clear the attribute */
pfunc_cilk_attr_clear (&my_attr);


/* Wait for the task to complete */
pfunc_cilk_wait (cilk_tmanager, my_task);

Note that the attribute associated with a spawned task can be cleared (using pfunc_cilk_attr_clear) at anytime after the spawn. Similar to the C++ interface, the C interface provides functions to set and get all the different attributes that can be associated with a task.

Last modified 12 years ago Last modified on Nov 1, 2009 12:50:45 PM