Saturday, October 3, 2009

Parallel Programming

Reading MSDN magazine: Another new topic to explore is parallel computing. The growth in the power of individual processors has slowed. Computer manufacturers have made up for it by adding processors. In order for a program to take advantage of multiple processors it must be broken into separate threads that can be directed to the various processors. To do this requires a whole new set of fairly low level and complex concepts. You have to be aware of what's happening at the CPU and memory level. Most difficult of all is controlling the concurrency and synchronization of threads.

The question is, I guess, is this something we need to teach? Very few of our classes get beyond intermediate programming concepts. Yet, I suspect this is something that employers will be expecting of new hires in the future. Visual Studio 2010 includes some enhancements for parallel computing, such as PLINQ, that help abstract it some. Still, I really can't see, any but a very few students, being able to master these skills.

Something to think about.

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