future 1.8.0 is available on CRAN. This release lays the foundation for being able to capture outputs from futures, perform automated timing and memory benchmarking (profiling) on futures, and more. These features are not yet available out of the box, but thanks to this release we will be able to make some headway on many of the feature requests related to this - hopefully already by the next release.

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The Many-Faced Future

The future package defines the Future API, which is a unified, generic, friendly API for parallel processing. The Future API follows the principle of write code once and run anywhere - the developer chooses what to parallelize and the user how and where. The nature of a future is such that it lends itself to be used with several of the existing map-reduce frameworks already available in R. In this post, I’ll give an example of how to apply a function over a set of elements concurrently using plain sequential R, the parallel package, the future package alone, as well as future in combination of the foreach, the plyr, and the purrr packages.

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doFuture 0.4.0 is available on CRAN. The doFuture package provides a universal foreach adaptor enabling any future backend to be used with the foreach() %dopar% { ... } construct. As shown below, this will allow foreach() to parallelize on not only multiple cores, multiple background R sessions, and ad-hoc clusters, but also cloud-based clusters and high performance compute (HPC) environments. 1,300+ R packages on CRAN and Bioconductor depend, directly or indirectly, on foreach for their parallel processing.

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future 1.3.0 is available on CRAN. With futures, it is easy to write R code once, which the user can choose to evaluate in parallel using whatever resources s/he has available, e.g. a local machine, a set of local machines, a set of remote machines, a high-end compute cluster (via future.BatchJobs and soon also future.batchtools), or in the cloud (e.g. via googleComputeEngineR). Futures makes it easy to harness any resources at hand.

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Henrik Bengtsson

MSc CS | PhD Math Stat | Associate Professor | R

Associate Professor