[Rd] Environments and parallel processing
niek@boum@n @ending from keygene@com
Wed Sep 12 13:07:16 CEST 2018
While using parallelization R seems to clone all environments (that are normally passed by reference) that are returned from a child process. In particular, consider the following example:
env1 <- new.env()
envs2 <- lapply(1:4, function(x) env1)
envs3 <- parLapply(cl, 1:4, function(x) env1)
envs4 <- parLapply(cl, 1:4, function(x) capture.output(str(env1)))
First I make an environment (env1). Then using the non-parallel lapply I get a list (envs2) where all entries contain a pointer to env1. Now when using the parallel parLapply the entries in the list I get (envs3) contain pointers to different environments, which are supposedly clones of env1 (also note that the first two entries contain the same pointer as the last two; supposedly because I use 2 child nodes for a loop of length 4). This cloning seems to happen when the child node returns their results to the master. To see this I save the pointer of env1 in the child nodes to the list envs4.
Why are environments cloned at the moment they are returned?, and is there a way to pass environments by reference when using parallel processing in R?
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