CS267: Lecture 1

Introduction to Parallel Computing

August 27, 2001

Lecturer: Kathy Yelick

Abstract

We motivate high performance computing by showing that numerical experiments are becoming a third pillar of the scientific method, complementing theory (because many phenomena are too complicated to understand theoretically) and conventional experiments (because many phenomena or devices are too difficult, expensive, slow or dangerous to measure or prototype in the laboratory). Second, we motivate the need for parallelism, by showing that despite the exponentially increasing power of serial processors over time, using many of them in parallel is essential to solve very large problems. Third, we described the challenges in writing and understanding parallel programming, a more difficult activity than conventional serial programming. Finally, we outlined the structure of the course.

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