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Scientific Programming
Volume 8 (2000), Issue 3, Pages 183-193

Scalable Algorithms for Adaptive Statistical Designs

Robert Oehmke, Janis Hardwick, and Quentin F. Stout

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

Received 26 June 2001; Accepted 26 June 2001

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present a scalable, high-performance solution to multidimensional recurrences that arise in adaptive statistical designs. Adaptive designs are an important class of learning algorithms for a stochastic environment, and we focus on the problem of optimally assigning patients to treatments in clinical trials. While adaptive designs have significant ethical and cost advantages, they are rarely utilized because of the complexity of optimizing and analyzing them. Computational challenges include massive memory requirements, few calculations per memory access, and multiply-nested loops with dynamic indices. We analyze the effects of various parallelization options, and while standard approaches do not work well, with effort an efficient, highly scalable program can be developed. This allows us to solve problems thousands of times more complex than those solved previously, which helps make adaptive designs practical. Further, our work applies to many other problems involving neighbor recurrences, such as generalized string matching.