The Reduce and Accumulate Algorithms

Parallelize Accumulate

Can std::accumulate() be parallelized for better performance?

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std::accumulate() itself cannot be parallelized because it processes elements sequentially from left to right.

This sequential processing ensures deterministic results but limits its performance on large datasets since it cannot take advantage of multi-core processors.

Why std::accumulate() is Sequential

std::accumulate() guarantees that the operands are combined in the order they appear in the range. This strict ordering means that each element must be processed one after the other, which inherently prevents parallel execution.

Alternatives for Parallelization

If you need parallelism for better performance, you should use std::reduce(), which is designed for parallel execution.

std::reduce() can process elements in any order, making it suitable for parallel execution and potentially much faster on large datasets.

Here's an example of using std::reduce():

#include <execution>  
#include <iostream>
#include <numeric>
#include <vector>

int main() {
  std::vector<int> numbers(1000000, 1);

  int result = std::reduce(
    numbers.begin(), numbers.end(), 0);

  std::cout << "Result: " << result;
Result: 1000000

In this example, we use the parallel execution policy std::execution::par to enable parallel processing. This allows std::reduce() to utilize multiple cores and significantly speed up the reduction process.

Custom Parallel Accumulation

If you need to parallelize an accumulation with deterministic order but still want to handle it manually, you can split the work across multiple threads and then combine the results.

Here's an example using the C++ Standard Library's threading features:

#include <iostream>
#include <numeric>
#include <thread>
#include <vector>

void accumulateRange(
  const std::vector<int>& numbers,
  int start, int end, int& result
) {
  result = std::accumulate(
    numbers.begin() + start,
    numbers.begin() + end, 0);

int main() {
  std::vector<int> numbers(1000000, 1);
  int result1 = 0, result2 = 0;

  std::thread t1(
    numbers.size() / 2,
  std::thread t2(
    numbers.size() / 2,


  int finalResult = result1 + result2;
  std::cout << "Final Result: " << finalResult;
Final Result: 1000000


  • std::accumulate() is inherently sequential and cannot be parallelized.
  • Use std::reduce() with a parallel execution policy for parallel processing.
  • Alternatively, implement custom parallel accumulation using threading.

By understanding these differences and options, you can choose the best approach for your specific use case, balancing performance and determinism as needed.

Answers to questions are automatically generated and may not have been reviewed.

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