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 CAB G 61.

Recitation sessions take place Thursdays 13:15 -- 15:00 in LEE D 101 and ETZ E 9. 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
1 09/16: no lecture 09/19: no recitation
2 09/23: Introduction, Organization, Cache Refresher 09/27: Caches
3 09/30: Cache Coherency 10/03: Cache Coherence Protocols Recap
4 10/07: MPI Tutorial 10/10: Advanced MPI Tutorial
5 10/14: Memory Models 10/17: Cluster Usage, Memory Models, Sequential Consistency
6 10/21: Languages and Locks 10/24: Locks, SPIN tutorial
7 10/28: Fast Locks, Lock-Free, Consensus (Unrolled Animations) 10/31: Wait-Free, Plotting
8 11/04: Modelling 11/07: Performance modelling
9 11/11: Scalable Locks and Oblivious Algorithms 11/14: Prefix scan, Research opportunities for students
9 11/18: Balance Principles, Roofline Models, Scheduling, Modelling (contd.) 11/21: Balance Principles, Scheduling
10 11/26: SIMD 11/28: Balance Principles, SIMD
11 12/02: Neural network training (unrolled animations) 12/05: Quiz
12 12/09: Communication Models 12/05: Network models


If you want to discuss issues related to the class or ask questions, please subscribe to the class mailing list dphpc-2019. 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.

We have a second mailing list dphpc-forum-2019 for the purpose of finding projects project teams, where all students are subscribed initially. We will remove you from this list, once we received an email about your team. See explanation below in the project section.


Assignments are an important part of the course. You will not learn this material from listening to a lecture alone and should 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 Cache Benchmark Determine the cache sizes of your computer by timing some operation.
2 Parallel PI See last slide of the first recitation session. PI-seq: download download
3 SPIN models See last slide of the recitation session Assignment solution
4 Performance modeling Assignment 4 Assignment solution


The project is an integral part of the course and accounts for 50% of the grade.

How it works



Name Email
Salvatore Di Girolamo
Tal Ben-Nun
Marcin Copik
Maciej Besta
Timo Schneider


Number Supervisor Members Project Description Final Presentation
1 Marcin Joshua Sammet, Marco Messerli, Leonard Knirsch, Alexander Morgenroth Comparison of different parallel graph colouring algorithms in their performance exposed to different kinds of graph networks.
2 Salvatore Aurelio Dolfini, Marc Wanner, Dominik Helmreich and Jan Stratmann Ant Colony Optimisation Algorithms
3 Nobody Lea Fritschi, Roman Haag, Michael Bernasconi, Giovanni Balduzzi nothing submitted
4 Tal Isidor Schoch, Felix Illes, Konrad Handrick, Theo Smertnig Graph Clustering via Maximum Flow
5 Maciej Peter Tatkowski, Sebastian Leisinger, Esref Özdemir, Tobias Holenstein Subgraph Isomorphism
6 Tal Robin Vogtland, Roger Barton, Sebastian Balzer, Thomas Baumann Fringe Search
7 Timo Maxime Raafat, Amélie Loher, Daria Lipsky, Angelina Heusler Delaunay Triangulation
8 Tal Rich Harpur, Matthias Busenhart, Damian Heer, Manuel Winkler Parallel Finite Element Method (FEM)
9 Marcin Daniel Stalder, Lukas Joss, Yannick Niedermayr, Fabrice Dal Farra Parallel Minimal Spanning Tree Algorithms
10 Salvatore Mathias Born, Wouter Tonnon, Maren Wessel-Berg, Luca Beurer-Kellner A Dynamically Load-Balanced Parallel Implementation of a Cellular Automata
11 Tal Sebastian Kurella, Justin MacPherson, Hannes Pfammatter, Valentin Anklin Distribution and Parallelization of a Genetic Algorithm
12 Marcin Davide Staub, Lennart Espe, Berkay Berabi, Daniel Widmer Vertex Coloring
13 Tal Samuel Martin, Josefine Leuenberger, Xiaohe Niu, Alice Mazzoleni BFS
14 Maciej Ajaykumar Unagar, Chia-I Hu, Kenza Amara, Philipp Lindenberger Subgraph Isomorphism
15 Timo Kosta Stojiljkovic, Han Yao Choong, Langwen Huang, Benjamin Langer Parallelization of popular genome sequencing algorithms
16 Maciej Dimitrios Lekkas, Athina Sotiropoulou, Foteini Strati, Andreas Triantafyllos Community Detection in Massive Networks
17 Salvatore Fabian Schuiki, Malte Brodmann, Samuel Riedel Artificial Bee Colony Optimization
18 Timo Sandro Panighetti, Philippe Mazenauer, Vyacheslav Samokhvalov, Jonas Hansen Parallel Push-Relabel
19 Maciej Hamilton Carrillo, Paulina Aguirre Fernandez de Hirt, Claudio Cannizzaro Shortest Paths
20 Marcin Wei Qiu, Run Shen, Jinfan Chen Markov chain Monte Carlo and Variational Inference OR Minimum Spanning Trees
21 Salvatore Tianjian Jiang, Flowers Macro, Singh Shashank Parallel B+-Tree
22 Maciej Baumgartner Roger, Kistler Severin, Peter Emanuel, Senn Alain Graph Coloring
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 (Example Exam). You are not allowed to use any electronic devices or books, notes, etc. in 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" in the CS library.