Parallel computing promises several orders of magnitude increase in our ability to solve realistic computationally intensive problems, but relies on their efficient mapping and execution on large-scale multiprocessor architectures. Unfortunately, many important applications are irregular and dynamic in nature, making their effective parallel implementation a daunting task. Moreover, with the proliferation of parallel architectures and programming paradigms, the typical scientist is faced with a plethora of questions that must be answered in order to obtain an acceptable parallel implementation of the solution algorithm. In this paper, we consider three representative irregular applications: unstructured remeshing, sparse matrix computations, and N-body problems, and parallelize them using various popular programming paradigms on a wide spectrum of computing platforms ranging from state-of-the-art supercomputers to PC clusters. We present the underlying problems, the solution algorithms, and the parallel implementation strategies. Smart load-balancing, partitioning, and ordering techniques are used to enhance parallel performance. Overall results demonstrate the complexity of efficiently parallelizing irregular algorithms.