Python subprocess in parallel

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Question :

Python subprocess in parallel

I want to run many processes in parallel with ability to take stdout in any time. How should I do it? Do I need to run thread for each subprocess.Popen() call, a what?

Asked By: sashab


Answer #1:

You can do it in a single thread.

Suppose you have a script that prints lines at random times:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import os
import random
import sys
import time

for i in range(10):
    print("%2d %s %s" % (int(sys.argv[1]), os.getpid(), i))

And you’d like to collect the output as soon as it becomes available, you could use select on POSIX systems as @zigg suggested:

#!/usr/bin/env python
from __future__ import print_function
from select     import select
from subprocess import Popen, PIPE

# start several subprocesses
processes = [Popen(['./', str(i)], stdout=PIPE,
                   bufsize=1, close_fds=True,
             for i in range(5)]

# read output
timeout = 0.1 # seconds
while processes:
    # remove finished processes from the list (O(N**2))
    for p in processes[:]:
        if p.poll() is not None: # process ended
            print(, end='') # read the rest

    # wait until there is something to read
    rlist = select([p.stdout for p in processes], [],[], timeout)[0]

    # read a line from each process that has output ready
    for f in rlist:
        print(f.readline(), end='') #NOTE: it can block

A more portable solution (that should work on Windows, Linux, OSX) can use reader threads for each process, see Non-blocking read on a subprocess.PIPE in python.

Here’s os.pipe()-based solution that works on Unix and Windows:

#!/usr/bin/env python
from __future__ import print_function
import io
import os
import sys
from subprocess import Popen

ON_POSIX = 'posix' in sys.builtin_module_names

# create a pipe to get data
input_fd, output_fd = os.pipe()

# start several subprocesses
processes = [Popen([sys.executable, '', str(i)], stdout=output_fd,
                   close_fds=ON_POSIX) # close input_fd in children
             for i in range(5)]
os.close(output_fd) # close unused end of the pipe

# read output line by line as soon as it is available
with, 'r', buffering=1) as file:
    for line in file:
        print(line, end='')
for p in processes:
Answered By: jfs

Answer #2:

You can also collect stdout from multiple subprocesses concurrently using twisted:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import sys
from twisted.internet import protocol, reactor

class ProcessProtocol(protocol.ProcessProtocol):
    def outReceived(self, data):
        print data, # received chunk of stdout from child

    def processEnded(self, status):
        global nprocesses
        nprocesses -= 1
        if nprocesses == 0: # all processes ended

# start subprocesses
nprocesses = 5
for _ in xrange(nprocesses):
    reactor.spawnProcess(ProcessProtocol(), sys.executable,
                         args=[sys.executable, ''],
                         usePTY=True) # can change how child buffers stdout

See Using Processes in Twisted.

Answered By: jfs

Answer #3:

You don’t need to run a thread for each process. You can peek at the stdout streams for each process without blocking on them, and only read from them if they have data available to read.

You do have to be careful not to accidentally block on them, though, if you’re not intending to.

Answered By: Amber

Answer #4:

You can wait for process.poll() to finish, and run other stuff concurrently:

import time                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
import sys                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
from subprocess import Popen, PIPE        
def ex1() -> None:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
    command = 'sleep 2.1 && echo "happy friday"'                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
    proc = Popen(command, shell=True, stderr=PIPE, stdout=PIPE)                                                                                                                                                                                                               
    while proc.poll() is None:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
        # do stuff here                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
    out, _err = proc.communicate()                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
    print(out, file=sys.stderr)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
    assert proc.poll() == 0                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Answered By: Farshid Ashouri

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