Performance of a parallel algorithm on a parallel machine depends not only on the time complexity of the algorithm, but also on how the underlying machine supports the fundamental operations used by the algorithm. This study analyzes various mappings of image correlation algorithms in SIMD, MIMD, and mixed-mode environments. Experiments were conducted on the Intel Paragon, MasPar MP-1, nCUBE 2, and PASM prototype. The machine features considered in this study include: modes of parallelism, communication/computation ratio, network topology and implementation, SIMD CU/PE overlap, and communication/computation overlap. Performance of an implementation can be enhanced by using algorithmic techniques that match the machine features. Some algorithmic techniques discussed here are additional communication versus redundant computation, data block transfers, and communication/computation overlap. The results presented are applicable to a large class of image processing tasks. Case studies, such as the one presented here, are a necessary step in developing software tools for mapping an application task onto a single parallel machine and for mapping the subtasks of an application task, or a set of independent application tasks, onto a heterogeneous suite of parallel machines. © 1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers.