[fpc-devel] Parallel Computing

Mark Morgan Lloyd markMLl.fpc-devel at telemetry.co.uk
Mon Dec 3 15:59:43 CET 2007

Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:

> Anybody that's ever programmed multi-threaded applications knows it's
> a daunting task and there is a lot as scope for errors.  With all
> these new multi-core processors coming into the market, application
> developer need to starting shifting their mindset from serial
> programing to parallel programming. We all know that's no easy task!
> Microsoft is trying to ease that shift for developers by trying to
> come up with ideas to help the developers build multi-threaded apps.
> It would be interesting to see what they come up with.
> http://www4.osnews.com/story/18993/Parallel_Computing_with_.NET

I've got limited time to follow up the links in that summary story, but I'd be 
interested to know what it purports to do that isn't done by either OpenMP or 
OpenMPI, both of which are fairly mature and are supported by- for example- 

> CPU cores - all sitting in idle.  IBM got it right many years back
> with the design of OS/2 - now lets see if the rest of the world can
> follow....many years later.

IBM implemented threads but as I understand it had no support for 
parallelisation across multiple processors, either SMP/NUMA or cluster. What's 
more I don't recall a mainstream language implementation from those days that 
had implicit support for starting custom threads, it was pretty trivial to do 
using a function call but there was nothing in the languages themselves.

Actually, there are two distinct issues here: MIMD which can be handled 
adequately by threads and SIMD which is where things like FORTRAN support for 
OpenMP comes in. I don't think that there is a single solution that will 
satisfy both camps.

Mark Morgan Lloyd
markMLl .AT. telemetry.co .DOT. uk

[Opinions above are the author's, not those of his employers or colleagues]

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