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July 09, 2008

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Alliterative Alligator

"Pleasantly Parallel" is a popular term that I've heard in place of "Embarrassingly Parallel"

Suraj Pandey

We agree that the term "Workflow" has been misused by many in Distributed Systems. However, the terminology was coined for representing tasks (or bag of tasks) with dependencies (DAG would be just one model without cycles and loops). The computation and data characteristics would depend on the type of application modeled as a workflow. Even applications based on MTC, could be well represented as a workflow to properly manage and represent data flows between tasks.

The description "unwarranted perversion of the English language" is a bit harsh to those who coined the word in the first place (e.g. ISI Group of USC), no offense.

Ian Foster

Hi Suraj:

Thanks for your comment.

The term workflow long predates the recent use of the term to refer to directed acyclic graphs. E.g., see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workflow.

A question to ponder: if a DAG is a workflow, what program (sequential or parallel) is not a workflow?

Regards -- Ian.

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