Voices from the firmament: three of computing's stars on the multicore challenge

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Found at Dan Reed’s blog

Andrew Chien, Dave Patterson and I have each written articles on the challenges and opportunities inherent in multicore hardware and software for the Community Computing Consortium (CCC) blog. My recent article, on the challenge of software, is now posted. In the article, I argued that we must re-envision parallel computing and a new generation of applications that explicitly exploit the scale and heterogeneity of multicore. You can read the article on the CCC blog or below.

…The software research challenge is clear – developing effective programming abstractions and tools that hide the diversity of multicore chips and features while exploiting their performance for important applications. Hence, we need a vibrant community of researchers exploring diverse approaches to parallel programming – languages, libraries, compilers, tools – and their applicability to multiple application domains.

An excerpt I resonate with

In that spirit, I believe our research challenge is to break free from the limitations of the desktop metaphor and exploit the ever greater performance of multicore chips to create new human-computer interaction metaphors that are more natural and intuitive. This will require new approaches to parallel computing education and increased collaboration with researchers in application domains.

FLOPS are, to a first approximation, free. We need to be developing software and conceptual frameworks that let computers do more of the heavy lifting, even if our first steps are only brute force solutions. It’s past time to get a move on with Professor Reed’s teraflops year compilation.