November 18, 2008
URBANA, Ill., Nov. 18 -- A human-centric future for consumer computing -- where mobile devices, virtual environments, and anthropomorphic communication interfaces allow humans to seamlessly move between cyber- and physical-spaces -- is possible with the power of multicore parallel computing. A major impediment to this vision is that parallel programming today is remarkably difficult and the domain of a few experts. The Universal Parallel Computing Research Center (UPCRC) at Illinois has released a white paper that outlines its research agenda to bring parallel computing to mainstream consumer applications and make multicore parallel programming synonymous with programming. The paper discusses three primary research themes.
Focus on Disciplined Parallel Programming -- Sequential languages have evolved to support well-structured programming, and provide safety and modularity. Mechanisms for parallel control, synchronization, and communication have not yet undergone a similar evolution. The UPCRC/Illinois takes the optimistic view that parallelism can be tamed for all to use by providing disciplined parallel programming models, supported by sophisticated development and execution environments. The white paper lays out an agenda to bring to parallel programming the analogs of the tenets underlying modern sequential programming.
Multi-Front Attack on Multicore Programming -- The UPCRC/Illinois is taking an integrated broad-based attack on parallelism at all levels of the system stack from applications down to hardware, using every weapon in the arsenal to enable performance, scalability, and programmability. This includes investigating disciplined parallel languages, metaprogramming and autotuners, and domain-specific environments; developing a powerful translation environment to exploit information from multiple sources at different times in the life of a program; developing an adaptive runtime to handle heterogeneity and automate resource management; developing new hardware mechanisms to enhance performance, scalability and programmability; and rethinking the customary division of labor among the layers of the system stack. Refactoring tools will help move existing code to new environments and formal methods-based techniques and tools will help ensure correctness.
Human-Centric Vision of Future Consumer Applications -- Driving the agenda is a human-centric vision of future consumer applications, backed up by research on application technologies to enable quantum-leaps in immersive visual realism, reliable natural-language processing, and robust telepresence. Investigating these applications reveals new parallel patterns and serves as a testbed for evaluating, refining, and ultimately proving UPCRC/Illinois ideas on multicore programming.
The complete paper is available online at www.upcrc.illinois.edu or www.parallel.illinois.edu. Parallel@Illinois will also distribute the paper from their SC08 booth (#2040) Nov. 17-20, 2008. The UPCRC welcomes feedback on the paper. Comments and suggestions can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted online at http://www.upcrc.illinois.edu/whitepaper.html.
About the Universal Parallel Computing Research Center (UPCRC)
The Universal Parallel Computing Research Center at the University of Illinois is a joint research endeavor of the Department of Computer Science, the Coordinated Science Laboratory, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and corporate partners Microsoft and Intel. The center builds on a history of Illinois innovation in parallel computing that spans four decades. For more information, visit www.upcrc.illinois.edu.
Parallel@Illinois (www.parallel.illinois.edu) is the collective representation of parallel computing research and education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Current efforts include:
-- Universal Parallel Computing Research Center
-- Blue Waters
-- Gigascale Systems Research Center
-- Cloud Computing Testbed
-- CUDA Center of Excellence
-- Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies
-- OpenSPARC Center of Excellence
About the Department of Computer Science
The Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois is recognized throughout the world as a leader in computer science education and research and is consistently ranked among the top 5 programs in the nation. The department and its graduates have long been at the forefront of modern computing beginning with ILLIAC in 1952, continuing through the most recent Internet era with YouTube and PayPal. For more information, visit www.cs.uiuc.edu.
About the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in education, research, and scholarship and is consistently ranked in the top five programs for undergraduate and graduate studies. ECE Illinois' 100-plus faculty members are experts in a broad range of areas and its more than 2,000 students are among the brightest of their generation. The department's 20,000 alumni are a driving force in the world of engineering and beyond. For more information, visit www.ece.illinois.edu.
About the Coordinated Science Laboratory
The Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois is one of the nation's premier, multidisciplinary research laboratories, focusing on information technology at the crossroads of computing, control and communications. Created by NASA nearly 60 years ago, CSL continues to transform society by developing and deploying new technologies in areas such as defense, medicine, environmental sciences, robotics, life-enhancement for the disabled and aeronautics. For more information, visit www.csl.illinois.edu.
Source: Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois
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