IPCC at the Department of Computer and Information Science

Parallel computing is a broad field of computer science concerned with the architecture, HW/SW systems, languages, programming paradigms, algorithms, and theoretical models that make it possible to compute in parallel. Parallel computing is also an old field. Charles Babbage once said of the Difference Engine design, "The most constant difficulty in contriving the engine has arisen from the desire to reduce the time in which the calculations were executed to the shortest which is possible." He explored parallelism to address this. Indeed, performance is parallelism's raison d'etre, and parallelism continues to be the path to performance in modern day computing.Large-scale parallelism (>100000 processors) lies at the heart of the fastest, most powerful computing systems in the world today.

In modern day computer systems, multicore technology is everywhere. This means that parallelism is ubiquitous. Small-scale, low-end parallelism is the driving force behind affordable scientific computing and the growing success of computational science. With the advent of computational accelerators, things are getting a lot more interesting. Parallelism is also in cell phones, PDA, tables, and laptops. Parallel computing is everywhere!

It is important that we train the next-generation of computer science students in the fundamental elements of parallel computing. The Department of Computer and Information Science (CIS) at the University of Oregon (UO) is investing in parallel computing as one of three target areas for the future. There is now a critical mass of CIS professors who are keen on broadening the parallel computing academic offerings to a richer academic program of instruction. The Intel® Parallel Computing Center (IPCC) at the UO has as its goal the creation of a high-quality undergraduate parallel computing course where students study a broad set of topics in parallel computing to build a foundation for a parallel skills set that they could take forward in their computing careers. Meeting this goal will establish a foundation for coordinated curriculum development in the future.

Through the IPCC, Intel® Corporation has played a positive role in supporting the CIS academic parallel computing initiative. The Parallel Computing course will be proposed to UO as a permanent course (CIS 431/531) in the CIS curriculum this coming year.