Jul 082011

Many academic professors talk about parallelism in the context of HDL languages.  Having learned both Verilog and Pthreads, I have always felt that we can use some of the lessons learned in hardware (which is inherently parallel) in Parallel programming. ParC is based on this insight and an impressive piece of work. I learned about ParC through Kevin Cameron’s comments on Future Chips. After some (healthy) debate with Kevin, I felt that ParC is a concept we should all be familiar with. I am hoping that Kevin’s insights will trigger some interesting debate.  

When people say parallel programming is hard they are correct, but to say it is a new problem would be wrong. Hardware designers have been turning out parallel implementations of algorithms for decades. Back in the 1980s designers moved up from designing in gates to using RTL descriptions of circuits with synthesis tools for the hardware description languages (HDLs) Verilog and VHDL. In recent years other methodologies like assertion-driven verification and formal methods have been added to help get chips working at first Silicon.

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