future 1.20.1 is on CRAN. It adds some new features, deprecates old and unwanted behaviors, adds a couple of vignettes, and fixes a few bugs. Interactive debugging First out among the new features, and a long-running feature request, is the addition of argument split to plan(), which allows us to split, or “tee”, any output produced by futures. The default is split = FALSE for which standard output and conditions are captured by the future and only relayed after the future has been resolved, i.

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parallelly adverb par·​al·​lel·​ly | \ ˈpa-rə-le(l)li \ Definition: in a parallel manner future noun fu·​ture | \ ˈfyü-chər \ Definition: existing or occurring at a later time I’ve cleaned up around the house - with the recent release of future 1.20.1, the package gained a dependency on the new parallelly package. Now, if you’re like me and concerned about bloating package dependencies, I’m sure you immediately wondered why I chose to introduce a new dependency.

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Trust the Future

Each time we use R to analyze data, we rely on the assumption that functions used produce correct results. If we can’t make this assumption, we have to spend a lot of time validating every nitty detail. Luckily, we don’t have to do this. There are many reasons for why we can comfortably use R for our analyses and some of them are unique to R. Here are some I could think of while writing this blog post - I’m sure I forgot something:

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Parallel ‘Digital Rain’ by Jahobr After two-and-a-half months, future 1.19.1 is now on CRAN. As usual, there are some bug fixes and minor improvements here and there (NEWS), including things needed by the next version of furrr. For those of you who use Slurm or LSF/OpenLava as a scheduler on your high-performance compute (HPC) cluster, future::availableCores() will now do a better job respecting the CPU resources that those schedulers allocate for your R jobs.

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There are new versions of future and future.apply - your friends in the parallelization business - on CRAN. These updates are mostly maintenance updates with bug fixes, some improvements, and preparations for upcoming changes. It’s been some time since I blogged about these packages, so here is the summary of the main updates this far since early 2020: future: values() for lists and other containers was renamed to value() to simplify the API [future 1.

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No dogs were harmed while making this release future 1.15.0 is now on CRAN, accompanied by a recent, related update of future.callr 0.5.0. The main update is a change to the Future API: resolved() will now also launch lazy futures Although this change does not look much to the world, I’d like to think of this as part of a young person slowly finding themselves. This change in behavior helps us in cases where we create lazy futures upfront;

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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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Author's picture

Henrik Bengtsson

MSc CS | PhD Math Stat | Associate Professor | R Foundation | R Consortium

Associate Professor