Concurrent Collections (CnC): A new approach to parallel programming
A common approach in designing parallel languages is to provide some high level handles to manipulate the use of the parallel platform. This exposes some aspects of the target platform, for example, shared vs. distributed memory. It may expose some but not all types of parallelism, for example, data parallelism but not task parallelism. This approach must find a balance between the desire to provide a simple view for the domain expert and provide sufficient power for tuning. This is hard for any given architecture and harder if the language is to apply to a range of architectures. Either simplicity or power is lost.
Instead of viewing the language design problem as one of providing the programmer with high level handles, we view the problem as one of designing an interface. On one side of this interface is the programmer (domain expert) who knows the application but needs no knowledge of any aspects of the platform. On the other side of the interface is the performance expert (programmer or program) who demands maximal flexibility for optimizing the mapping to a wide range of target platforms (parallel / serial, shared / distributed, homogeneous / heterogeneous, etc.) but needs no knowledge of the domain. Concurrent Collections (CnC) is based on this separation of concerns. The talk will present CnC and its benefits.
About the speaker
Kathleen Knobe has focused throughout her career on parallelism especially compiler technology, runtime system design and language design. She worked at Compass (aka Massachusetts Computer Associates) from 1980 to 1991 designing compilers for a wide range of parallel platforms for Thinking Machines, MasPar, Alliant, Numerix, and several government projects. In 1991 she decided to finish her education. After graduating from MIT in 1997, she joined Digital Equipment’s Cambridge Research Lab (CRL). She stayed through the DEC/Compaq/HP mergers and when CRL was acquired and absorbed by Intel. She currently works in the Software and Services Group / Technology Pathfinding and Innovation.