Multicore NZ

July 28, 2009

Teaching Parallel Programming in High Schools

Filed under: Models, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 10:44 pm

Are high school whiz kids ready to “think parallel”? is the title of this article at Intel

It is a pilot experience, with 16 students and 6 teachers participating.

The idea is simple: teach to think parallel before students become “contaminated” with the current paradigm of sequential programming.

In a previous life, I’ve been a Math lecturer and teacher and education researcher: there is nothing that a keen student won’t be able to learn, provided that knowledge is presented with enthusiasm. I remember experimenting with Calculus and Superior Algebra to 13-14 years olds…

Back to the point, this is an Intel initiative, so it should be seen in the broader context of promoting its multicore chips.

What needs to be highlighted is the huge change that can be achieved in every computational process, thanks to the parallelism of the new chips. If in the massive shift to this technology, Intel’s shareholders get more dividends, well, they had the initiative on developing the technology (and Sun and AMD and Plurality and Tilera and…)

It will be a long journey, to extend this learning from 16 students to millions of programmers worldwide, but everything needs to start somewhere: and this is the “right” start. You won’t easily convince current programmers (and its CIOs) to shift billions of legacy code to parallel until the situation is burning (it could be similar to the process of digitalising paper documents when the IT revolution begun: I’m still impressed about that, and everytime that I think on the Health System and how many prescriptions are handwritten worldwide reminds me of how long we have come in short time, but how much is still to be done)

And me? I’m back to school!

Just received this from Berkeley!

“Your registration has been received for ONLINE attendance at the 2009 Par Lab Boot Camp – Short Course on Parallel Computing.  The course will run 9am-6pm August 19-21.”

Final thought: what are YOU doing to start to think parallel?

Nicolas Erdody, Wellington, New Zealand

1 Comment »

  1. […] Will post shortly the abstract of his presentation (around TBB of course) but want to highlight a shared interest: teaching parallelism in high schools. Read about it in this post […]

    Pingback by James Reinders (Intel) will be presenting in Wellington in January 2010 « Multicore NZ — October 19, 2009 @ 7:47 am

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