This is largely an announcement post, but it does raise
(1) What has theory done for parallelism?
(2) What can theory do for parallelism?
(3) What has parallelism done for theory?
(4) What can parallelism do for theory?
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
Here is one step to bridging the gap:
Workshop on Theory and Many-Cores:
What Does Theory Have to Say About Many-Core Computing?
Friday, May 29, 2009
Kim Engineering Building, Room 1110, University of Maryland, College
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
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
For those who attend
which starts May 30, in Bethesda, Maryland:
The University of Maryland is a 12-mile ride
from Bethesda, and both Bethesda and UMD are accessible by Metro.
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