Partitioned Global Address Space Languages

Mattias De Wael, Stefan Marr, Bruno De Fraine, Tom Van Cutsem, Wolfgang De Meuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


The Partitioned Global Address Space (PGAS) model is a parallel programming model that aims to improve programmer productivity while at the same time aiming for high performance. The main premise of PGAS is that a globally shared address space improves productivity, but that a distinction between local and remote data accesses is required to allow performance optimizations and to support scalability on large-scale parallel architectures. To this end, PGAS preserves the global address space while embracing awareness of nonuniform communication costs.

Today, about a dozen languages exist that adhere to the PGAS model. This survey proposes a definition and a taxonomy along four axes: how parallelism is introduced, how the address space is partitioned, how data is distributed among the partitions, and finally, how data is accessed across partitions. Our taxonomy reveals that today’s PGAS languages focus on distributing regular data and distinguish only between local and remote data access cost, whereas the distribution of irregular data and the adoption of richer data access cost models remain open challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number62
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalACM Computing Surveys
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2015


  • one-sided communication
  • survey
  • PGAS
  • HPC
  • Parallel programming
  • data access
  • data distribution
  • message passing

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