Parallel Programming News for Week 47/2007

Contrary to what the update-frequency of this blog suggests, I am not dead. Not even near that, I am very healthy the only problem is that with my new job, new house in the works and family I am left with very little time for blogging. Life is about setting the right priorities and at this point in time unfortunately this means I will not be able to keep up to my usual posting frequency of one post per week. Instead I am aiming for one post per month now, while leaving the door open to write more as soon as my time permits. There is always enough time for a short newsflash on interesting articles on the net, though:

  • MSDN introduces a Task Parallel Library by Microsoft. It looks very similar to OpenMP, Intel’s TBB or even my own effort called AthenaMP (that I have been meaning to write about for quite some time now). What caught my eye was the very careful attention to exceptions, which is something that no other system of this scope has, as far as I know.
  • Anwar Ghuloum points out some problems with GPGPU. I generally agree with his points, especially the programming model is still far away from anything that I would like to program with.
  • Always helpful, Herb Sutter warns about calling unknown code from inside a critical region. I know I am preaching to the choir here, as most of you are probably aware of this advice. But especially the techniques at the end of this article on how to avoid doing just that are worth reviewing.
  • Joe Duffy has put down his experiences with lock-freedom. A very nice and balanced read, if you ask me. What has always worried me about lock-free algorithms is that most people are not even able or willing to understand the memory-model of lock-based parallel programming systems. Those are generally easier than the ones of lock-free ones, so should we really recommend those techniques to anybody except maybe expert library programmers?
  • And Joe has not stopped there but has also written a praise for an immutable world. This is also one of the main advices in my favorite book on Java Concurrency. Good stuff.

I would like to close this post by sharing a short movie-clip with you. If you are as fascinated about speed as I am (and after all, this blog is also about speed, or why else are you going through all the trouble with parallel programming 😯 ), I am sure you will enjoy it as well (via! It shows a race between a Bugatti Veyron and a Eurofighter – but there is a twist to it…