Estonian Winter Schools in Computer Science
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Parallel computers have been touted as the "next big thing" for three decades, but the software developers have been able to ignore it, largely by leveraging the ever increasing single-thread performance of modern microprocessors. This situation has completely changed within the last three years: flagship microprocessors from Intel, AMD and IBM are all "multicores". Now everyone needs a strategy for parallel programming.
One source of weaknesses in parallel programming has been the lack of compositionality; independently written parallel libraries and packages don't compose very well. We will argue that perhaps traditional procedural abstraction and abstract data types don't capture the essential differences between parallel and sequential programming. We will present a different notion of modules, based on guarded atomic actions, and view it as a resource to be shared concurrently by other modules. As opposed to implicitly or explicitly specifying parallelism in a program, we think of parallel programming as a process of synthesis from a set of modules with proper interfaces and composition rules. We will draw connections between this hardware-design inspired methodology and traditional approaches to multithreaded parallelism including programming based on transactions.
Arvind is the Johnson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT where in the late eighties his group, in collaboration with Motorola, built the Monsoon dataflow machines and its associated software. In 2000, Arvind started Sandburst which got sold to Broadcom in 2006. In 2003, Arvind co-founded Bluespec Inc., an EDA company to produce a set of tools for high-level synthesis. In 2001, Dr. R. S. Nikhil and Arvind published the book "Implicit parallel programming in pH". Arvind's current research interests are synthesis and verification of large digital systems described using Guarded Atomic Actions; and Memory Models for parallel architectures and languages.
Modified Jun 01, 2007 11:50