Report from the UPCRC Illinois Summit

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Clay Breshears was at the 12 Feb UPCRC Illinois Summit meeting earlier this month, and writes about it on Intel’s blogs

This was a progress report of various research projects that are going on with faculty and students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It’s been about a year since the UPCRC program was initiated with grant money from Intel and Microsoft.  The faculty have gotten projects started and students have been brought in to lend a hand. To keep this post short, I just want to highlight some of these projects that caught my attention.  For more information on what UPCRC Illinois is doing, you should check out the project webpage at

You should read the post, but these items caught my attention

An effort is underway, with cooperation of Berkeley UPCRC researchers, to put together an encyclopedia of parallel programming patterns.  Dr. Ralph Johnson, one of the “Gang of Four” authors, is leading the effort at Illinois.  There will be a ParaPLoP (Parallel Pattern Language of Programs) workshop in Santa Cruz in early June.  For more information and call for papers (ends 18 APR 09) see ParaPLop 2009.

…Another hardware project presented the Bulk Multicore Architecture.  The idea for this was to have the hardware execute chunks of dynamic instructions, say 2000.  Chunks execute atomically and in isolation to achieve deterministic behavior.  The chunk executions would be considered as transactions that could be rolled back and reexecuted if there was a detected conflict.  The “hook” behind the ‘transactions all the time’ execution model is that this would be unknown to the software.  Thus, programmers write up their parallel algorithms, and the architecture would automatically handle the bulk transactions.  There is a forthcoming article to be published in Communications of the ACM.

Thanks to Clay for taking the time to write this up. And I want to extend an invitation to anyone who attends any HPC event: we can’t all go to all (or even many) of the events in our community, but we can all benefit from firsthand accounts of what happens at them. If you’ll take the time to write up your thoughts on the plane ride home, we’ll post them here, or link to them if you have your own blog. Just let us know where to point to.


  1. link to blog post ?

  2. anon – sorry! I’m fixing it now…