Multicore NZ

June 15, 2011

Sun-Oracle SPARC five year plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — multicoreblog @ 9:41 am

From Oracle magazine (May 2011) we can read about how Oracle is looking at the good old SPARC architecture. The article presents a five year plan in these terms:

Five-Year Plan

When Oracle announced its SPARC roadmap at Oracle OpenWorld 2010, John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle, revealed a five-year trajectory for Oracle’s SPARC servers that included 4 times the number of cores between 2010 and 2015, 32 times the number of threads, 16 times the memory capacity, 40 times the number of transactions per minute, and 10 times the number of Java operations per second.


“Core to the server design element for Sun for many years has been SPARC, the first volume 64-bit processor. It’s about building mission-critical, high-performance systems for the enterprise,” said Fowler during his Oracle OpenWorld keynote. “We’re committing publicly . . . to at least double application performance every other year,” he added, noting that this commitment comes with binary investment protection for customers, who are often “picking . . . business applications and running them for many years, expecting performance improvements throughout.”

May 5, 2011

Parallel PHP: Open Parallel and Intel

Filed under: Multicore, Open Source, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 9:42 pm

James Reinders, Chief Software Evangelist of Intel, posted this blog at Intel

I’ve been chatting with a small group of dedicated fans of Intel Threading Building Blocks (TBB)  in New Zealand.  They’ve been looking at adding parallelism, using TBB, to WordPress, PHP, HipHop, Perl, and other open source projects.  They have published their code and some interesting results.  They have a web site http://openparallel.comexplaining some of their work.

The PHP (HipHip) project, using TBB, is hosted at

Their PHP wrapper has been primarily implemented as an extension for the HipHop PHP compiler. This provides a thread-safe compiled implementation of PHP 5.2 with a fairly comprehensive set of libraries.

Their first version includes:

parallel_for / parallel_for_array – provides the TBB parallel_for functionality with PHP arrays for input and output.

concurrent_vector – this PHP extension class wraps the TBB concurrent_vector and provides thread-safe access to a vector type collection.

concurrent_hash_map – this PHP extension class wraps the TBB concurrent_hash_map and provides thread-safe access to a hash collection keyed on any PHP type.

concurrent_globals – this function provides thread-safe, read-only access to the PHP global variables. (These are normally thread-local in HipHop, where a thread is typically associated with a web request).
Some PHPDoc documentation has been produced for these functions and ore is being worked on. They are also looking at conventional PHP extensions to enable application developers to run an application that uses TBB extensions in the conventional PHP interpreter for development and testing purposes. In this case, all operations will execute on a single thread. This would support single source.

They presented much of their early work in January at a conference in Australia. I couldn’t swing visiting there myself, so I’ve resigned myself to occassional emails and phone calls to catch-up with them.

Here’s what they’ve done that I’ve spoken with them about:

They made slight modifications to WordPress, to use a TBB-enabled HipHop they created – and they had VERY impressive results. The bigger surprise was the huge drop in memory footprint. They have theories why, but this seems to have been the leading reason for the higher performance. Sometime algorithm changes improve performance for unexpected reasons!  You can read their two short white papers on what they did:


I know they interested in hearing from developers of like mind (wanting to add parallelism to open source projects) – but they really enjoy talking with projects that want help improving performance. Given their results with PHP/HipHop so far, they would seem to be worth contacting for such work.

Parallelism is worth adding in many places.  It’s fun to see the results with PHP so far!

I know they are working on Perl too… I’ll catch up with them on that work and write a blog next week with what I find.

March 13, 2011

When will we see applications for multicore systems?

Filed under: High Performance Computing, Multicore, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 10:23 pm

Keshav Pingali, a computer scientist at the University of Texas in Austin, is working with IBM under the auspices of Open Collaborative Research to develop the programming language that will give programmers the tools to write multicore-compatible code

Listen to Keshav’s podcast and read the transcript here

February 9, 2011

SuperComputer to be used for Research in Agriculture

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing C-DAC with ten centres in major Indian cities,”is now assisting the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in establishing a national agricultural bioinformatics grid”

This initiative, the first of its kind in India, will help scientists enhance agricultural productivity and also address problems like food security. As part of the project, a three-day training-cum-workshop programme on ‘Parallel and High Performance Computing’ began on Monday 7.

The workshop will provide an insight into the different aspects of high performance computing (HPC) with the goal of capability building in solving complex problems in agriculture and biotechnology. Speaking to DNA, Goldi Misra, group coordinator and head, HPC Solutions Group, C-DAC, said the use of HPC would help scientists address the problem of food scarcity at the grass-root level. Full article.

January 31, 2011

“Reinventing Computing for Parallelism”

Filed under: Multicore, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 11:06 pm

An article of general interest in PC World this week about “Radical Design for multicore” can be read here

The complete article “Using Simple Abstraction to Reinvent Computing for Parallelism” can be read here

“The ICE abstraction may take CS from serial (single-core) computing to effective parallel (many-core) computing.”

Uzi Vishkin – Communications of the ACM
Vol. 54 No. 1, Pages 75-85 (January 2011)


December 7, 2010

Schedule of the II Miniconference in Multicore and Parallel Computing, part of LCA2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — multicoreblog @ 12:31 am

With keynotes of Paul McKenney (Linux CTO of IBM) and Vint Cerf (Chief Internet Evangelist and VP of Google), the II Open Source Software, Multicore and Parallel Computing miniconference, will be in Brisbane, Australia on Tuesday 25 of January 2011


The schedule is available now.

Look forward to see you there!

Nicolás Erdödy

Miniconference Organiser – Multicore & Parallel Computing

LCA2011 – Brisbane, Australia


October 20, 2010

Linux Scalability to Many Cores

Filed under: Multicore, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 3:11 am

An Analysis of Linux Scalability to Many Cores is the title of a paper published by MIT. It discusses the scalability bottlenecks in a recent Linux kernel running in a 48 cores computer. A brief article about the paper is here

September 9, 2010

Google Code University

Filed under: Education and Training, Multicore, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 3:39 am

With the headline

“One of the most important recent developments in computing is the growth in distributed and parallel applications.”,

Google presents an interesting list of very recent resources that is worth visiting

July 15, 2010

Parallelism is not new

Filed under: High Performance Computing, Models, Multicore, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 10:06 am

Peter J. Denning and Jack B. Dennis wrote in their paper “The Resurgence of Parallelism” that

“Parallelism is not new; the realization that it is essential for continued progress in high-performance computing is. Parallelism is not yet a paradigm, but may become so if enough people adopt it as the standard practice and standard way of thinking about computation.”

“The new era of research in parallel processing can benefit from the results of the extensive research in the 1960s and 1970s, avoiding rediscovery of ideas already documented in the literature: shared memory multiprocessing, determinacy, functional programming, and virtual memory.”

Worth reading not only for its excellent presentation and easy read but for the abundant References

July 1, 2010

Why is difficult to find parallel programmers?

Filed under: Multicore, Open Source, Parallel Programming — multicoreblog @ 10:18 am

Paul McKenney gives some context in his post “As the price of parallel systems has plummeted, the number of situations where it makes economic sense to use them has increased exponentially. This in turn means that the demand for parallel software has also grown suddenly, outstripping the supply of developers with parallel-programming experience. Voilà, a parallel-software crisis.”

Actually the title of this post is just an excuse to point the reader to Paul’s excellent blog, particularly to his list of posts about how hard is parallel programming.

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