On the parallel computation thesis

Nachum Dershowitz*, Evgenia Falkovich-Derzhavetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop a generic programming language for parallel algorithms, one that works for all data structures and controlstructures. We show that any parallel algorithm satisfying intuitively-appealing postulates can be modelled by a collectionof cells, each of which is an abstract state machine, augmented with the ability to spawn new cells. The cells all run thesame algorithm and communicate via a shared global memory. Using a formal definition of what makes such an algorithmeffective, we prove the validity of the Parallel Computation Thesis, according to which all reasonable parallel models ofcomputation have roughly equivalent running times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-374
Number of pages29
JournalLogic Journal of the IGPL
Issue number3
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2016


  • Abstract state machines (ASM)
  • Complexity machine models
  • Parallel computation thesis
  • Parallel random access machines (PRAM)


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