Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

G. M. Prabhu


A crucial concern in software development is reducing program execution time. Parallel processing is often used to meet this goal. However, parallel processing efforts can lead to many pitfalls and problems. One such problem is to distribute the workload among processors in such a way that minimum execution time is obtained. The common approach is to use a load balancer to distribute equal or nearly equal quantities of workload on each processor. Unfortunately, this approach relies on a naive definition of load imbalance and often fails to achieve the desired goal. A more sophisticated definition should account for the affects of additional factors including communication delay costs, network contention, and architectural issues. Consideration of additional factors led us to the realization that optimal load distribution does not always result from equal load distribution. In this dissertation, we tackle the difficult problem of defining load imbalance. This is accomplished through the development of a parallel program model called the Generalized Work/Exchange Model. Associated with the model are equations for a restricted set of deterministically balanced programs that characterize idle time, elapsed time, and potential speedup. With the aid of the model, several common myths about load imbalance are exposed. A useful application called a load balancer enhancer is also presented which is applicable to the more general, quasi-static load unbalanced program.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Milton Curtis Wikstrom



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

182 pages