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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.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing the Department of Energy's research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe.

ESnet, the Energy Sciences Network, provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at 40 DOE research sites to each other and to experimental facilities and supercomputing centers around the country. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) powers the discoveries of 7,000-plus scientists at national laboratories and universities, including those at Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division (CRD). CRD conducts research and development in mathematical modeling and simulation, algorithm design, data storage, management and analysis, computer system architecture and high-performance software implementation. NERSC and ESnet are Department of Energy Office of Science User Facilities.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the DOE’s Office of Science.

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