Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Pattern Language

I liked the idea of crating patterns that can be used as modules to abstract the parallel programming problems, and I liked the tone of the paper. However, I don't feel that it ever got to a level of detail that would provide me with any useful information. Some of the patterns listed (backtrack, branch, and bound; dynamic programming; process control) will be jumping-off points for further reading for myself, but I need to get somewhat deeper into the patterns.

I was a fan of the way that the paper created patterns for different types of programmers rather than trying to completely abstract the parallelism from the typical developer or exposing too much detail in order to target parallel programming framework developers.

Parallelism is becoming a hot topic in computer science and software engineering today because processors are reaching the limits of how fast they can get on a single core. Increases in speed now must come from focusing on utilizing multiple processors or processor cores.

I think my personal challenges in programming parallel processors come from the fact that these applications do not execute deterministically. It's often next to impossible to duplicate timing-related bugs in a controlled development environment. If there were better tools and support from languages and patters, these bugs would be encountered less often because more robust code would typically be written & these difficult bugs would be less frequent.

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