# Compound Tasks¶

*This is a fairly advanced topic, which you should only tackle once you have
mastered the basics of Jug.*

A compound task is a function that builds up a potentially-complex task. Because this function might generate many intermediate tasks which are not very meaningful, using a compound task construct allows us to throw them away once they have run.

For example:

```
@TaskGenerator
def poly(a,b,c):
return a*b+c
@TaskGenerator
def max3(values):
'Return the maximum 3 values'
values.sort()
return tuple(values[-3:])
def buildup(numbers):
results = []
for n in numbers:
results.append(poly(n, 2*n, poly(n,n,n)))
return max3(results)
# Work in Python2 & Python3
numbers = list(range(192))
intermediate = buildup(numbers)
...
```

We have a fairly complex function `buildup`

, which takes the list of `N`

numbers and generated `2*N+1`

Tasks. These are a lot of Tasks and may make
jug run slower. On the other hand, you may not want to simply have a single
Task do everything:

```
def poly(a,b,c):
return a*b+c
def max3(values):
'Return the maximum 3 values'
values.sort()
return tuple(values[-3:])
@TaskGenerator
def buildup(numbers):
results = []
for n in numbers:
results.append(poly(n, 2*n, poly(n,n,n)))
return max3(results)
```

Because, this way, you will have lost any ability to have the different calls
to `poly`

be run in parallel.

A compound task behaves like the first example until all necessary tasks have been computed:

```
@TaskGenerator
def poly(a,b,c):
return a*b+c
@TaskGenerator
def max3(values):
'Return the maximum 3 values'
values.sort()
return tuple(values[-3:])
@CompoundTaskGenerator
def buildup(numbers):
results = []
for n in numbers:
results.append(poly(n, 2*n, poly(n,n,n)))
return max3(results)
# Work in Python2 & Python3
numbers = list(range(192))
intermediate = buildup(numbers)
...
```

Basically, when Jug sees the `CompoundTask`

, it asks *is the result of all of
this already available?* If yes, then it is just the current result; otherwise,
the function is called immediately (**not** at execution time, but every time
the jugfile is loaded).

## See Also¶

See also the section on mapreduce.