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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Postgraduate Course: Parallel Programming Languages and Systems (Level 11) (INFR11023)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe module familiarises students with the issues involved in designing, implementing and applying parallel programming systems. Initial motivation will be provided by consideration of a number of typical high performance applications and parallel architectures. This will highlight the role of parallel software systems as a means of bridging the gap between these and allow abstraction of the issues which must be addressed by any such system (partitioning, communication, agglomeration, scheduling). It will explore the ways in which these challenges have been addressed by a range of systems, including both de facto standards and more adventurous research projects.
Course description * Introduction. Conceptual and architectural models of parallelism. Parallel algorithmic paradigms and simple parallel algorithms.Iterative, recursive pipeline and bag-of-task parallelism.
* Generic issues in shared variable programming. Mutual exclusion, condition synchronization. Locks, barriers semaphores and monitors, use and implementation.
* Realisation in Pthreads and Java.
* Issues in message passing programming. Channels and synchronization models.
* Realisation in MPI: communicators, simple and collective operations
* Selected case studies highlighting alternative approaches, for example,
o Associative models. Linda, tuple space and related primitives.
o Threading Building Blocks.

Relevant QAA Computing Curriculum Sections: Concurrency and Parallelism
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is open to all Informatics students including those on joint degrees. For external students where this course is not listed in your DPT, please seek special permission from the course organiser (lecturer).

Students must also be competent programmers in C, C++ or Java and have an appreciation of the connection between log_2 and 2^.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will be by a combination of
* Short programming exercises, designed to familiarize students with the practicalities of parallel programming.
* pencil-and-paper exercises

You should expect to spend approximately 20 hours on the coursework for this course.

If delivered in semester 1, this course will have an option for semester 1 only visiting undergraduate students, providing assessment prior to the end of the calendar year.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Parallel Programming Languages and Systems2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe generic issues (as discussed in the syllabus) which must be addressed by any parallel programming system.
  2. Explain, given a description of a previously unseen parallel application, where specific instances of the generic issues will arise.
  3. Explain, in considerable detail, the ways in which the generic issues are addressed by the MPI and Pthreads programming models and their supporting infrastructure.
  4. Apply their practical experience with MPI and Pthreads to write clean, adaptable and scalable parallel programs for simple applications.
  5. Compare the approaches proposed by a range of more speculative programming models.
Reading List
* G.R. Andrews, Foundations of Multithreaded, Parallel and Distributed Programming, 2000.
* B. Wilkinson, M.Allen, 'Parallel Programming, Techniques and Applications', 1999.
* I Foster, 'Designing and Building Parallel Programs', 1995.
* M.J.Quinn, 'Parallel Programming in C with MPI and OpenMP', 2004.
* Selected research papers.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Murray Cole
Tel: (0131 6)50 5154
Course secretaryMr Gregor Hall
Tel: (0131 6)50 5194
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