News
Commentary
9/16/2008
00:00 AM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Parallel Programming: easy is relative, not absolute

Recently, Michael Wolfe wrote a piece for HPCWire where he points out that if programming is not easy - maybe we need to avoid saying anything will make parallel programming easy.

His article makes you think, and that puts it on my recommend reading list: Compilers and More: Parallel Programming Made Easy?

Michael rails on the term "easy" - and seems to argue that "easy" has no place in our dialog.

I once took a class on compiler dependence analysis from Michael, based on his excellent PhD work, published as "Optimizing Supercompilers for Supercomputers" in 1982.  I need to go read over my class notes... but I'm pretty sure Michael told me he had some easy methods for loop dependence analysis, loop interchange, and distance computations... the phrase "you can easily see" still rings in my ears... so that easy term might be relative. 

I believe what should be "hard" about programming is the algorithms and approaches for parallelism ("Think Parallel") not the method to write down the program.

Having an easy method to write express or debug a parallel program, can be quite different than making programming itself easy.

I'd just like tools to make my job as easy as they can.  Good programming is not easy and parallel programming isn't going to be easier than regular programming.

Michael does conclude, what at times what seems to be a down beat article, with "I have confidence in the applications programmer's ability to develop algorithms and approaches to using parallelism."

No one says that is going to be easy if we haven't made programming easy for all.

I couldn't agree more. 

 

 

 

 

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 24, 2014
Start improving branch office support by tapping public and private cloud resources to boost performance, increase worker productivity, and cut costs.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.