Summer School in Multicore Programming

8/9/2010 10:42:00 AM Cheri Helregel, UPCRC Illinois

Over 150 programmers from all over the world either traveled or tuned-in online to participate in the UPCRC Illinois Summer School on Multicore Programming, July 19-23, 2010. Another 20+ will participate in a satellite program from Singapore in mid-August.

Participants in the 2010 UPCRC Illinois Summer School in Multicore Programming
Participants in the 2010 UPCRC Illinois Summer School in Multicore Programming
Participants in the 2010 UPCRC Illinois Summer School in Multicore Programming

Of the fifty participants that attended at the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computing Science on the Illinois campus, some traveled from as far away as France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Newfoundland, and Turkey. Over 100 programmers worldwide registered to participate in the program online. About half of all summer school participants were graduate or undergraduate students of computer science, computer engineering, math, and electrical or other engineering disciplines. Academic faculty, research programmers, and industry developers rounded out the other half of this diverse group of global participants.

This was the second year UPCRC Illinois produced the summer school which offered experienced programmers, with little or no exposure to parallelism, an opportunity to learn about multicore programming. The curriculum provided a solid foundation in the fundamentals of multicore programming and offered hands-on learning experiences with the use of multicore languages and libraries. Participants also enjoyed a lab environment that featured the most current parallel programming tools available from Intel and Microsoft.

UPCRC Illinois Co-Director and computer science professor Marc Snir opened the event on Monday evening with an Introduction to Parallelism and Multicore Technology. Joining Snir in teaching this year’s summer school were UPCRC Illinois Co-Director, Wen-mei Hwu, Maria Garzaran and Danny Dig of UPCRC Illinois, John E. Stone of the Illinois Beckman Institute, Clay Breshears and Paul Petersen of Intel, and Phil Pennington and James Rapp of Microsoft. Illinois graduate students from UPCRC and the departments of computer science or electrical and computer engineering served as teaching and lab assistants and forum moderators. The week concluded on Friday with Snir’s Taxonomy of Parallel Programming Models and tours of the new Petascale Computing Facility at Illinois.

Throughout the week, online participants watched presentations via live streaming and submitted questions to live discussion forums available during all presentations. Online participants in different time zones also had the option of attending asynchronously via archived lectures that were accessible from the course website. All participants were encouraged to submit questions and comments to lecture and lab forums that were regularly moderated by school faculty and teaching assistants throughout the program.

For lab projects, on-site participants used local lab facilities or their personal laptops to remote connect to virtual machines hosted on UPCRC Illinois multicore servers. Online participants were provided multicore virtual machines hosted by the Microsoft Platform Adoption Center. All participants had the option of installing software packages or a pre-configured virtual machine image on their own systems for use during or after the school.

New this year is the addition of a satellite program in Singapore. The week of August 16th, the Advanced Digital Sciences Center (ADSC) and the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) will host a satellite summer school on multicore programming at the Fusionopolis engineering research and development complex. ADSC and IHPC will provide a local lab environment and deliver the course using archived videos and instructional materials from the July program at UPCRC Illinois. Teaching assistance will be provided by a participant who recently attended the UPCRC Illinois summer school in July.

UPCRC Illinois plans to offer a multicore programming school again next summer. Information and announcements will be posted online and via the UPCRC email list. UPCRC Illinois is also interested in hearing from other organizations that have an interest in offering a satellite school on multicore programming using content from this year’s program. Letters of inquiry may be emailed to Cheri Helregel at chelrege [at] illinois [dot] edu.

About UPCRC Illinois
The Universal Parallel Computing Research Center (UPCRC Illinois) at the University of Illinois is a joint research endeavor of the Department of Computer Science, the Coordinated Science Laboratory, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and corporate partners Microsoft and Intel. The center builds on a history of Illinois innovation in parallel computing that spans four decades. UPCRC Illinois is also one of many Parallel@Illinois efforts currently invested in pioneering and promoting parallel computing research and education.