Adventures in Machine Learning

Boost Python Performance with Multiprocessing Library

Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, thanks to its simplicity, versatility, and ease of use. One of the most significant advantages of using Python is the availability of a vast number of libraries that are designed to simplify complex tasks.

The multiprocessing module is one such library that helps speed up the execution of Python programs by allowing for concurrent processing on multiple CPU cores simultaneously. This article will provide an overview of the multiprocessing module in Python, along with the benefits of using this library and how to implement it in your Python program.

Definition and purpose of the multiprocessing module

As the name suggests, the multiprocessing module is designed to enable the processing of multiple tasks concurrently. It is a Python library that allows you to execute multiple pieces of code simultaneously, thus speeding up the overall program’s execution time.

The primary purpose of the multiprocessing module is to enable the execution of parallel tasks across different CPU cores. This functionality distinguishes the multiprocessing module from the built-in multi-threading library, which is limited to a single CPU core.

The multiprocessing module offers a wide range of features, including inter-process communication, process synchronization, resource sharing, and process management. These features make it easier to develop complex Python programs and enhance their performance.

Benefits of using the multiprocessing module

The multiprocessing module provides several benefits over the standard Python library, including:

1. Concurrent processing: Multiprocessing enables the simultaneous execution of different tasks, allowing you to achieve faster processing times.

2. Multiple CPU cores: By using multiprocessing, you can utilize multiple CPU cores and distribute tasks across them, thus increasing the overall performance of your program.

3. More stable: Multiprocessing is more stable than multi-threading since it creates new processes instead of threads.

This eliminates the potential for deadlock and other issues that can arise from shared resources and interlocking. 4.

Increased control: Multiprocessing provides greater control over the program’s execution and can better manage resources, such as memory and CPU usage.

Importing necessary libraries

Before you can use the multiprocessing module in your program, you need to import the necessary libraries. The core module that needs to be imported is the ‘multiprocessing’ library, which provides the primary functionality for parallel processing.

Additionally, other libraries like ‘os’ and ‘sys’ can be used to manage file and system operations.

Defining the function to execute in parallel and creating a main function for multiprocessing

The primary step in implementing multiprocessing in your Python program is defining the function that will execute in parallel. Once you have defined your function, you need to wrap it in a main function for multiprocessing.

The main function is responsible for creating a ‘Process’ object, which assigns the task to a particular CPU core for execution. To implement multiprocessing in your Python program, follow these steps:


Import the necessary libraries, as discussed in subtopic 2.1.

2. Define the function that you want to execute in parallel.

3. Create a list of arguments that need to be passed to the function.

4. Define a main function to pass the function and arguments to the multiprocessing module.

5. Create a ‘Process’ object using the main function and start the process.

Example code for multiprocessing:


import multiprocessing

def my_function(arg1, arg2):

# Function definition goes here

return result

def main():

arg_list = [(1,2), (3,4)] # List of argument tuples

processes = []

for arg in arg_list:

p = multiprocessing.Process(target=my_function, args=arg)



for p in processes:

p.join() # Wait for processes to finish before exiting

if __name__ == ‘__main__’:




The multiprocessing module is an essential tool for any developer looking to speed up the execution of Python programs. It enables the simultaneous execution of different tasks across multiple CPU cores, improving program performance and stability.

This article provided an overview of the multiprocessing module, including benefits, implementation, and relevant sample code. By understanding the multiprocessing module and its application to Python programs, developers can create more efficient and robust applications.

Full code example

Here’s a complete code example to illustrate how to use the multiprocessing module in Python:


import multiprocessing

def square(number):

result = number * number

print(f”Number: {number}, Result: {result}”)

return result

def main():

# Create a list of numbers to square

numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

# Create a process pool with 4 worker processes

with multiprocessing.Pool(processes=4) as pool:

# Map the square function to the numbers list and return the results

results =, numbers)

print(results) # Print the results of the square function

if __name__ == ‘__main__’:



The code defines a function called `square` that accepts a single argument and returns the square of that argument. The `main` function creates a list of numbers, creates a process pool with 4 worker processes, and maps the `square` function to the list of numbers using the `` method.

The results of the `square` function are then printed to the console.

Explanation of how the example works

The example above illustrates how to use the `multiprocessing.Pool` class to create a pool of worker processes that can execute functions in parallel. The `map` method of the `Pool` class maps a function to an iterable (in this case, a list of numbers) and applies the function to each item in the iterable.

The `map` method returns a list of results, which are stored in the `results` variable in the example. The `with` statement around the `Pool` instance in the example ensures that the `Pool` is properly closed after use, releasing any resources that it may have acquired.

The `if __name__ == ‘__main__’:` block at the end of the example ensures that the `main` function is only executed if the script is run directly, and not if it is imported as a module.

Ideal number of workers depends on use case and hardware

The number of worker processes to use in a multiprocessing program depends on several factors, including the problem being solved, the available hardware, and the number of CPU cores on the machine. A good rule of thumb is to use as many workers as there are CPU cores on the machine for maximum efficiency.

However, this may not always be the case, as some problems may benefit from more or fewer workers. For example, if the problem being solved is I/O-bound (i.e., waiting for data from a network connection or file system), then more workers may be beneficial since they can perform I/O operations simultaneously.

On the other hand, if the problem is CPU-bound (i.e., requires significant processing time), then adding workers beyond the number of CPU cores may not improve performance significantly.

Other factors to consider when using multiprocessing module

Aside from the ideal number of workers to use, other factors to consider when using the multiprocessing module include the memory usage requirements of the program, the amount of inter-process communication required, and potential issues with the global interpreter lock (GIL). Since each worker process has its own memory space, the memory usage of a multiprocessing program can increase significantly compared to a single-threaded program.

Developers need to consider the amount of memory their program requires and ensure that the system has enough available memory to support the program. Interprocess communication can also be a bottleneck in multiprocessing programs.

For example, if workers need to share data frequently, this can add significant overhead and reduce program performance. Developers should aim to minimize interprocess communication where possible to improve program performance.

Lastly, the global interpreter lock (GIL) in Python can present issues for multiprocessing programs. The GIL ensures that only one thread can execute Python bytecode at a time, preventing multiple threads from modifying objects simultaneously.

This can be an issue for multiprocessing programs, which often rely on parallel execution to achieve performance gains. Developers can overcome this issue by using separate processes instead of threads, as each process has its own Python interpreter and is not subject to the GIL.


The multiprocessing module in Python enables developers to achieve greater performance gains by executing tasks in parallel, across multiple CPU cores. Using a simple code example and a discussion of ideal worker number through to important considerations such as inter-process communication and GIL confusion, this article has provided readers with a solid foundation for working with the multiprocessing library.

With an understanding of the multiprocessing library capabilities, developers can improve the performance of their Python apps and enable faster results. In conclusion, the multiprocessing module in Python is a powerful tool that enables developers to improve their program’s performance by executing tasks in parallel, using multiple CPU cores.

With its ability to manage resources, inter-process communication and avoid GIL confusion, using the multiprocessing library for multi-threaded operations can deliver results to users at a quicker pace. While ideal workers vary based on individuals’ hardware and requirements, the module’s benefits include faster processing times and stable functionality.

With a basic understanding of the multiprocessing library, developers can make use of parallel processing to the benefit of their Python applications and the potential benefit of those who interact with them.

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