GNU parallel is a shell tool for executing jobs in parallel locally or using remote machines. A job is typically a single command or a small script that has to be run for each of the lines in the input. The typical input is a list of files, a list of hosts, a list of users, a list of URLs, or a list of tables. If you use xargs today you will find GNU parallel very easy to use as GNU parallel is written to have the same options as xargs. If you write loops in shell, you will find GNU parallel may be able to replace most of the loops and make them run faster by running several jobs in parallel. If you use ppss or pexec you will find GNU parallel will often make the command easier to read.