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.”
About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the NERSC Center serves more than 7,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.