The current reality is that non-theory communities (architecture, compiler, applications) nearly ignore the role of the theory and algorithm communities when it come to ongoing reinvention of CS for parallelism. As you know, this reinvention is mandated by the transition to many-core computer driven by technology and market forces and will affect how CS is taught at all level, including freshmen programming, courses on algorithms and data structures, etc. It will be a pity for all if theory remains out of the discussion. For example, it can adversely affect the future of the theory and algorithms communities, as claims of relevance of theory to CS will become harder to support.
Here is one step to bridging the gap: Workshop on Theory and Many-Cores: What Does Theory Have to Say About Many-Core Computing?
WHEN: Friday, May 29, 2009
WHERE: Kim Engineering Building, Room 1110, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
The sudden shift from single-processor computer systems to many-processor parallel computing systems requires reinventing much of Computer Science (CS): how to actually build and program the new parallel systems. Indeed, the programs of many mainstream computer science conferences, such as ASPLOS, DAC, ISCA, PLDI and POPL are heavily populated with papers on parallel computing and in particular on many-core computing. In contrast, the recent programs of flagship theory conferences, such as FOCS, SODA and STOC, hardly have any such paper. This low level of activity should be a concern to the theory community, for it is not clear, for example, what validity the theory of algorithms will have if the main model of computation supported by the vendors is allowed to evolve away from any studied by the theory. The low level of current activity in the theory community is not compatible with past involvement of theorists in parallel computing, and to their representation in the technical discourse. For example, 19 out of 38 participants in a December 1988 NSF-IBM Workshop on Opportunities and Constraints of Parallel Computing in IBM Almaden had theory roots. The lack of involvement of theorists should also concern vendors that build many-core computers: theorists are often the instructors of courses on algorithms and data-structures, and without their cooperation it will be difficult to introduce parallelism into the curriculum.
The main objective of the workshop will be to explore opportunities for theoretical computer science research and education in the emerging era of many-core computing, and develop understanding of the role that theory should play in it.
The workshop will feature five invited talks and several contributed presentations.=20
Deadline for submitting an abstract: April 27, 2009.
List of speakers:
- Guy Blelloch, CMU
- Phil Gibbons, Intel
- Arch Robison, Intel (Architect of Intel's Threading Building Blocks (TBB))
- Leslie Valiant, Harvard
- Uzi Vishkin, University of Maryland
Sponsors: The University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS)its Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and the Center for Computational Thinking, Carnegie-Mellon University