parallel (version 3.6.2)

clusterApply: Apply Operations using Clusters


These functions provide several ways to parallelize computations using a cluster.


clusterCall(cl = NULL, fun, ...)
clusterApply(cl = NULL, x, fun, ...)
clusterApplyLB(cl = NULL, x, fun, ...)
clusterEvalQ(cl = NULL, expr)
clusterExport(cl = NULL, varlist, envir = .GlobalEnv)
clusterMap(cl = NULL, fun, ..., MoreArgs = NULL, RECYCLE = TRUE,
           .scheduling = c("static", "dynamic"))
clusterSplit(cl = NULL, seq)

parLapply(cl = NULL, X, fun, ..., chunk.size = NULL) parSapply(cl = NULL, X, FUN, ..., simplify = TRUE, USE.NAMES = TRUE, chunk.size = NULL) parApply(cl = NULL, X, MARGIN, FUN, ..., chunk.size = NULL) parRapply(cl = NULL, x, FUN, ..., chunk.size = NULL) parCapply(cl = NULL, x, FUN, ..., chunk.size = NULL)

parLapplyLB(cl = NULL, X, fun, ..., chunk.size = NULL) parSapplyLB(cl = NULL, X, FUN, ..., simplify = TRUE, USE.NAMES = TRUE, chunk.size = NULL)



a cluster object, created by this package or by package snow. If NULL, use the registered default cluster.

fun, FUN

function or character string naming a function.


expression to evaluate.


vector to split.


character vector of names of objects to export.


environment from which t export variables


a vector for clusterApply and clusterApplyLB, a matrix for parRapply and parCapply.


additional arguments to pass to fun or FUN: beware of partial matching to earlier arguments.


additional arguments for fun.


logical; if true shorter arguments are recycled.


A vector (atomic or list) for parLapply and parSapply, an array for parApply.


scalar number; number of invocations of fun or FUN in one chunk; a chunk is a unit for scheduling.


vector specifying the dimensions to use.

simplify, USE.NAMES

logical; see sapply.


logical; see mapply.


should tasks be statically allocated to nodes or dynamic load-balancing used?


For clusterCall, clusterEvalQ and clusterSplit, a list with one element per node.

For clusterApply and clusterApplyLB, a list the same length as x.

clusterMap follows mapply.

clusterExport returns nothing.

parLapply returns a list the length of X.

parSapply and parApply follow sapply and apply respectively.

parRapply and parCapply always return a vector. If FUN always returns a scalar result this will be of length the number of rows or columns: otherwise it will be the concatenation of the returned values.

An error is signalled on the master if any of the workers produces an error.


clusterCall calls a function fun with identical arguments ... on each node.

clusterEvalQ evaluates a literal expression on each cluster node. It is a parallel version of evalq, and is a convenience function invoking clusterCall.

clusterApply calls fun on the first node with arguments x[[1]] and ..., on the second node with x[[2]] and ..., and so on, recycling nodes as needed.

clusterApplyLB is a load balancing version of clusterApply. If the length n of x is not greater than the number of nodes p, then a job is sent to n nodes. Otherwise the first p jobs are placed in order on the p nodes. When the first job completes, the next job is placed on the node that has become free; this continues until all jobs are complete. Using clusterApplyLB can result in better cluster utilization than using clusterApply, but increased communication can reduce performance. Furthermore, the node that executes a particular job is non-deterministic. This means that simulations that assign RNG streams to nodes will not be reproducible.

clusterMap is a multi-argument version of clusterApply, analogous to mapply and Map. If RECYCLE is true shorter arguments are recycled (and either none or all must be of length zero); otherwise, the result length is the length of the shortest argument. Nodes are recycled if the length of the result is greater than the number of nodes. (mapply always uses RECYCLE = TRUE, and has argument SIMPLIFY = TRUE. Map always uses RECYCLE = TRUE.)

clusterExport assigns the values on the master R process of the variables named in varlist to variables of the same names in the global environment (aka ‘workspace’) of each node. The environment on the master from which variables are exported defaults to the global environment.

clusterSplit splits seq into a consecutive piece for each cluster and returns the result as a list with length equal to the number of nodes. Currently the pieces are chosen to be close to equal in length: the computation is done on the master.

parLapply, parSapply, and parApply are parallel versions of lapply, sapply and apply. Chunks of computation are statically allocated to nodes using clusterApply. By default, the number of chunks is the same as the number of nodes. parLapplyLB, parSapplyLB are load-balancing versions, intended for use when applying FUN to different elements of X takes quite variable amounts of time, and either the function is deterministic or reproducible results are not required. Chunks of computation are allocated dynamically to nodes using clusterApplyLB. From R 3.5.0, the default number of chunks is twice the number of nodes. Before R 3.5.0, the (fixed) number of chunks was the same as the number of nodes. As for clusterApplyLB, with load balancing the node that executes a particular job is non-deterministic and simulations that assign RNG streams to nodes will not be reproducible.

parRapply and parCapply are parallel row and column apply functions for a matrix x; they may be slightly more efficient than parApply but do less post-processing of the result.

A chunk size of 0 with static scheduling uses the default (one chunk per node). With dynamic scheduling, chunk size of 0 has the same effect as 1 (one invocation of FUN/fun per chunk).


Run this code
## Use option cl.cores to choose an appropriate cluster size.
cl <- makeCluster(getOption("cl.cores", 2))

clusterApply(cl, 1:2, get("+"), 3)
xx <- 1
clusterExport(cl, "xx")
clusterCall(cl, function(y) xx + y, 2)

## Use clusterMap like an mapply example
clusterMap(cl, function(x, y) seq_len(x) + y,
          c(a =  1, b = 2, c = 3), c(A = 10, B = 0, C = -10))

parSapply(cl, 1:20, get("+"), 3)

## A bootstrapping example, which can be done in many ways:
clusterEvalQ(cl, {
  ## set up each worker.  Could also use clusterExport()
  cd4.rg <- function(data, mle) MASS::mvrnorm(nrow(data), mle$m, mle$v)
  cd4.mle <- list(m = colMeans(cd4), v = var(cd4))
res <- clusterEvalQ(cl, boot(cd4, corr, R = 100,
                    sim = "parametric", ran.gen = cd4.rg, mle = cd4.mle))
cd4.boot <-, res),  type = c("norm", "basic", "perc"),
        conf = 0.9, h = atanh, hinv = tanh)

## or
run1 <- function(...) {
   cd4.rg <- function(data, mle) MASS::mvrnorm(nrow(data), mle$m, mle$v)
   cd4.mle <- list(m = colMeans(cd4), v = var(cd4))
   boot(cd4, corr, R = 500, sim = "parametric",
        ran.gen = cd4.rg, mle = cd4.mle)
cl <- makeCluster(mc <- getOption("cl.cores", 2))
## to make this reproducible
clusterSetRNGStream(cl, 123)
cd4.boot <-, parLapply(cl, seq_len(mc), run1)),  type = c("norm", "basic", "perc"),
        conf = 0.9, h = atanh, hinv = tanh)
# }

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