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concurrency research "hot" again?
It seems that concurrency is again getting "mainstream" attention. I've seen
several articles in the popular press over the last few days touting Intel's
new 80-core "teraflop-on-a-chip" demonstration chip. Most of the articles I've
seen have made a big deal out of how difficult programmers will find it to
program for 80 cores, and how lots of research needs to be done to develop new
techniques for programming parallel architectures (here's one sample of the
articles I've seen:
At the same time, I've seen several links to "The Landscape of Parallel
Computing Research: A View from Berkeley"
(http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2006/EECS-2006-183.html) show up on
various websites that I check regularly. In that report, the folks from Berkeley
say, among other things:
"Since real world applications are naturally parallel and hardware is naturally
parallel, what we need is a programming model, system software, and a
supporting architecture that are naturally parallel. Researchers have the rare
opportunity to re-invent these cornerstones of computing, provided they
simplify the efficient programming of highly parallel systems."
So is research into concurrent programming becoming a hot topic again? And how
many of these research efforts are simply going to reinvent the occam wheel?
The Berkeley effort, in particular, sounds a lot like the occam/transputer
approach (at least at a high level). However, the tech report in question makes
no mention of CSP, occam, or transputers (OTOH, they also omit any mention of
Berkeley's Prof. Ed Lee, who has done a lot of work on concurrent programming
models via the Ptolemy project).
It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Hopefully it'll lead to an upswing
in funding for projects that can claim to be working towards support for
massive concurrency - like KRoC/nocc :-)
Allan McInnes <amcinnes@xxxxxxxxxx>
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Utah State University