An mth-order recurrence problem is defined as the computation of the sequence x1, ···, xN, where xi = ƒ(ai, xi−1, ···, xi−m) and ai is some vector of parameters. This paper investigates general algorithms for solving such problems on highly parallel computers. We show that if the recurrence function ƒ has associated with it two other functions that satisfy certain composition properties, then we can construct elegant and efficient parallel algorithms that can compute all N elements of the series in time proportional to [log2N]. The class of problems having this property includes linear recurrences of all orders—both homogeneous and inhomogeneous, recurrences involving matrix or binary quantities, and various nonlinear problems involving operations such as computation with matrix inverses, exponentiation, and modulo division.
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