Making “Parallel Programming” Synonymous with “Programming”
March 24, 2008
“This is one of the first times in my career when it actually feels like the major processor manufacturers might actually listen to people in terms of what they would like to make it easier to write parallel programs, or easier to get performance out of them,” said NERSC Director Kathy Yelick in an HPCwire interview with some of the major players in the two new Universal Parallel Computer Research Centers (UPCRC) funded by Intel and Microsoft — one at the University of California, Berkeley (Par Lab) and the other at the University of Illinois. UPCRC research targets single-socket parallel programming for mainstream computing and applications.
Yelick said the software work at the Berkeley center is focused in two different layers: “… what we call the productivity layer, which we think is for most programmers to use, and an efficiency layer, which is for the parallelism and performance experts.” The productivity layer will use abstractions to hide much of the complexity of parallel programming, while the efficiency layer will let experts get at the details for maximum performance. David Patterson, UC Berkeley professor of computer sciences and a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division, called these two audiences the “programming masses” and “ninja programmers.”
The HPCwire article “Making ‘Parallel Programming’ Synonymous with ‘Programming’” can be read at http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2246496.html.
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