Download a free parallel programming book from National Academies Press

National Academies Press has taken the surprising and radical step of making 4,000 of its textbooks available for free download in PDF format. Among those titles is ‘The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level?’, which is a new title this year, and which goes into some depth on the multicore challenge and its implications for programmers.

Chapter 4 is entitled ‘The end of programming as we know it’. It notes: “The developers of the applications and programming systems have made much progress in providing appropriate abstractions, but not enough in that most developers and programming systems currently use the sequential model.” The chapter goes on to discuss the software implications of parallelism; the importance of managing memory latency; and the need for simple software abstractions and hardware mechanisms for parallel programming. It then goes into the state of the art in parallel programming, covering thread programming for shared memory, message passing interface, MapReduce, and distributed computing (with examples including the Seti@Home project where users donate spare computing cycles to search for alien life, and the less noble example of botnets). The chapter concludes by calling upon academics to be more aggressive in their research than industry, and to exploit the opportunity they have of being free of the need for strict backwards compatibility.

There’s lots of good stuff in the rest of the book too, and it makes for an excellent briefing on the challenges of parallel programming, with some signposts to tomorrow’s solutions. The book’s been written by three bodies within the National Research Council of the National Academies in the US, which creates research that it says helps to inform US government policy. So perhaps we’ll see some more US government funding for parallel programming initiatives in future? Who knows…

Download the PDF of the book ‘The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level?’ here.

4 Responses

  1. […] SoftTalk blog points us to this free eBook, The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level?. […]

  2. […] parallel programming, and when they’re free, that’s even better. I wrote previously about the free parallel programming book published by National Academies Press. I now have another one to share with […]

  3. […] free book from Intel about creating apps, Paul McKenney’s free parallel programming book, and the free programming book from National Academies Press. Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  4. […] Download a free parallel programming book from National Academies Press […]

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