Basic Information


Course overview

This course exposes students to the principal issues involved in software development for parallel computing and discusses a number of approaches to handle the problems and opportunities caused by the increased availability of parallel platforms.

The course includes lectures, assignments, self-study, and a project. 50% of your grade is determined by project work and 50% is determined by a written exam; the exam is given during the official examination period, and there is no makeup exam. Students must be able to program using Java and C/C++.

The course may cover: memory coherence and consistency models, implications for language-specific memory models, Java memory model, models of parallel programming and parallel program execution, performance models for parallel systems, transactional memory, compiler extraction of parallelism, language and compiler support for parallel programming, threads and their execution environment, synchronization, and implementation issues of these topics.

Course schedule

Lectures are given Mondays 13:15 - 16:00 in LEE D 101.

Recitation sessions take place Thursdays 13:15 -- 15:00 in LEE D 101 and take place when announced. Some of the recitation session hours will be devoted to other activities (tutorials, reviews, etc) or will be devoted to group meetings. Please watch this page for updates and announcements.

Tentative schedule of lectures

Week Monday Thursday
0 09/18: no lecture 09/21: MPI Tutorial
1 09/25: Organization - Introduction (1pp) (6pp) - Caches (1pp) (6pp) 09/28: Cache
2 10/02: Cache Coherence (1pp) (6pp) 10/05: Cache Coherence - Advanced MPI Tutorial
3 10/09: Memory Models (1pp) (6pp) 10/12: Sequential Consistency
4 10/16: Linearizability (1pp) (6pp) 10/19: Initial Projects Presentations - Linearizability
5 10/23: No lecture 10/26: Lecture: Amdahl's Law, PRAM, alpha-beta (1pp) (6pp) (Notes)
6 10/30: Roofline Model (1pp) (6pp) - Notes 11/02: Amdahl's Law, PRAM - Roofline Model
7 11/06: Projects Presentations 11/09: No recitation session
8 11/13: Balance Principles (1pp) (6pp) - Notes on Balance Principles / Scheduling (1pp) (6pp) - Notes on Scheduling 11/16: Balance Principles & Scheduling
9 11/20: Languages & Locks (1pp) (6pp) 11/23: Locks - MPI RMA
10 11/27: Locks and Lock-Free (1pp) (6pp) - Scientific Benchmarking (1pp) (6pp) 11/30: SPIN tutorial
11 12/04: Lock-Free and distributed memory (1pp) (6pp) 12/07: OpenMP - Benchmarking parallel pi - Hybrid jobs on Euler
12 12/11: Distributed memory (1pp) (6pp) 12/14:Network models
13 12/18: Final Presentations


If you want to discuss issues related to the class, please subscribe to the class mailinglist. This list is read by the instructors as well as the TA, and any student of the class who voluntarily subscribed to it. So it is a great place to discuss questions about homework or the lecture slides.


Assignments are an important part of the course. You will not learn this material from listening to a lecture alone -- you have to do the assignments.

Note: Do not hesitate to write an email to your TA if you have trouble with the assignments!

Number Assignment Description Solution
1 Assignment 1 (last slide) Parallel Pi with MPI Solution
2 Assignment 2 Cache Organization/Cache Coherence Solution Benchmark code
3 Assignment 3 Sequential Consistency Solution
4 Assignment 4 Linearizability Solution
5 Assignment 5 Roofline & Balance Principles Solution
6 Assignment 6 (last slide) SPIN Solution
7 Assignment 7 Locks Solution
8 Assignment 8 Network Models Solution


Number Members Project Description Final Presentation
1 Margomenos Spyridon, Denzler Alain, Mösch Philippe Parallel Graph Colouring
2 Matthäus Heer, Polena Lilyanova, Jakob Beckmann, Kilzer Georg Parallel Algorithms for Finding Convex Hulls in 2d
3 Shaoduo Gan, Maximilian Falkenstein, Nicolas Trüssel Parallel Alpha-Beta Search
4 Thomas Häner, Damian Steiger Stabilizer Simulator
5 Jakub Lichman, Jan Eberhardt Parallel SAT Solver
6 Bjarni Hannesson, Matias Hugentobler, Martina Grether Parallel Ant Colony Optimization
7 Bhadauria Abhimanyu, Schaad Philipp, Nodar Ambroladze Large Minimum Spanning Tree Computation
8 Matteo Stringher, Renato Bellotti, Yakun Dai Minimum Spanning Tree
9 Jingqiu Ding, Zhenhao he, Piyush Panchal Maximal Independent Set
10 Shruti Shyam, Song Xie, Ali Smesseim Parallel A* Search
Teams are listed in the order they have been announced.

Template for project report


50% of your grade is determined by the project, and the other 50% of the grade is determined by a written 2 hr exam. You are not allowed to use any electronic devices or books, notes, etc. to the exam.


There exist a large number of books on programming multi-processors, multi-core system, or threads. These books may explore some topics in more depth than the lectures, or may provide background information. None of these books is mandatory. Copies of the first two books are "on reserve" the CS library.