Lambda Expressions

C++11 lambda expressions make the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (Intel® TBB) parallel_for much easier to use. A lambda expression lets the compiler do the tedious work of creating a function object.

Below is the example from the previous section, rewritten with a lambda expression. The lambda expression, shown in bold font, replaces both the declaration and construction of function object ApplyFoo in the example of the previous section.

#include "tbb/tbb.h"
using namespace tbb;
void ParallelApplyFoo( float* a, size_t n ) {
   parallel_for( blocked_range<size_t>(0,n), 
      [=](const blocked_range<size_t>& r) {
                      for(size_t i=r.begin(); i!=r.end(); ++i) 

The [=] introduces the lambda expression. The expression creates a function object very similar to ApplyFoo. When local variables like a and n are declared outside the lambda expression, but used inside it, they are "captured" as fields inside the function object. The [=] specifies that capture is by value. Writing [&] instead would capture the values by reference. After the [=] is the parameter list and definition for the operator() of the generated function object. The compiler documentation says more about lambda expressions and other implemented C++11 features. It is worth reading more complete descriptions of lambda expressions than can fit here, because lambda expressions are a powerful feature for using template libraries in general.

C++11 support is off by default in the compiler. The following table shows the option for turning it on.

Sample Compilation Commands for Using Lambda Expressions


Intel® C++ Compiler

Compilation Command and Option

Windows* OS systems

icl /Qstd=c++11 foo.cpp

Linux* OS systems

macOS* systems

icc -std=c++11 foo.cpp

For further compactness, Intel TBB has a form of parallel_for expressly for parallel looping over a consecutive range of integers. The expression parallel_for(first,last,step,f) is like writing for(auto i=first; i<last; i+=step)f(i) except that each f(i) can be evaluated in parallel if resources permit. The step parameter is optional. Here is the previous example rewritten in the compact form:

#include "tbb/tbb.h"
using namespace tbb;
#pragma warning(disable: 588)
void ParallelApplyFoo(float a[], size_t n) {
    parallel_for(size_t(0), n, [=](size_t i) {Foo(a[i]);});

The compact form supports only unidimensional iteration spaces of integers and the automatic chunking feature detailed on the following section.

Last Updated: 
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.