Parallelizing Julia with a Non-invasive DSL
Computational scientists often prototype software using productivity languages that offer high-level programming abstractions. When higher performance is needed, they are obliged to rewrite their code in a lower-level efficiency language. Different solutions have been proposed to address this tradeoff between productivity and efficiency. One promising approach is to create embedded domain-specific languages that sacrifice generality for productivity and performance, but practical experience with DSLs points to some road blocks preventing widespread adoption. This paper proposes a non-invasive domain-specific language that makes as few visible changes to the host programming model as possible. We present ParallelAccelerator, a library and compiler for high-level, high-performance scientific computing in Julia. ParallelAccelerator’s programming model is aligned with existing Julia programming idioms. Our compiler exposes the implicit parallelism in high-level array-style programs and compiles them to fast, parallel native code. Programs can also run in “library-only” mode, letting users benefit from the full Julia environment and libraries. Our results show encouraging performance improvements with very few changes to source code required. In particular, few to no additional type annotations are necessary.