MIT Summer Course Announcement

Lori Lynn Avirett-Mackenzie <>
Wed, 10 Feb 1993 18:55:02 GMT

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MIT Summer Course Announcement (Lori Lynn Avirett-Mackenzie) (1993-02-10)
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Newsgroups: comp.arch,comp.parallel,comp.compilers
From: Lori Lynn Avirett-Mackenzie <>
Keywords: dataflow, courses
Organization: MIT Lab for Computer Science, Cambridge, Mass.
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1993 18:55:02 GMT

---------------- COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT: PLEASE POST ----------------

Parallel Computing: Dataflow Architectures and Languages
    (with Programming Laboratory on Monsoon Dataflow Machines)

Monday, August 2 through Friday, August 6, 1993

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summer Session Program 6.83s
Course Abstract

The only thing holding back the widespread use of parallel computers is
software. Most of the difficulty of parallel programming is attributable
to our von Neumann legacy - imperative languages and sequential processor
architectures. By switching to functional languages, one may start
writing parallel programs without even realizing it. Dataflow
architectures further simplify the compilation problem by providing cheap

A central theme of the course is Id, an implicit parallel language. The
participant will get a chance to evaluate via laboratory experience
whether Id is a fad or a real alternative to standard imperative languages
extended for parallelism, such as C with threads, Multi-Lisp, and Fortran
9X. The participant will also get an opportunity to compare Id to purely
functional languages. Compilation of Id for both dataflow and von Neumann
machines will be discussed at length.

The other theme of the course is dataflow architectures. We will discuss
why these architectures are better building blocks for parallel computers
than modern RISC architectures. Today's dataflow architectures borrow much
from traditional architectures; however, they take the most aggressive
approach to multi-threading, that is, rapid context switching to tolerate
long memory latencies and frequent synchronization waits. The participant
will get hands-on experience on Monsoon dataflow machines produced by
Motorola, and a chance to conduct experiments on emulators of other
dataflow machines. We will also discuss several supercomputer-class
dataflow machines that are currently under construction.

Course Outline:

Implicit Parallel Programming:
    Programming with higher-order functions and non-strict data structures;
    Rewrite rules and reduction; Algebraic and abstract data types; Arrays
    and I-structures; M-structures and non-determinism.

    Fundamental issues in high-performance parallel architectures; Static and
    dynamic dataflow machines; Split phase memory references; I-structure
    memory; Multi-threaded architectures; Hybrid von Neumann-dataflow

    Dataflow program graphs; Translation to dataflow graphs; Lambda- lifting
    and supercombinators; Loop, array and procedure call optimization.

Resource management and performance:
    Resource managers; Experimental results on MIT dataflow machines.

    Morning and afternoon lecture sessions will be followed by late-
    afternoon laboratory sessions in writing, debugging, running and
    analyzing the performance of Id programs on a Monsoon dataflow machine
    and on software emulators. Experienced assistants will be available in
    the laboratory.
The Target Audience:
    Understanding dataflow principles can benefit users and designers of all
    parallel systems, i.e., parallel languages, architectures, compilers and
    resource managers. In addition to computer scientists and electrical
    engineers, the course is also useful for people working in scientific
    programming, signal processing, real-time computing and artificial

    The program will be taught by professor Arvind of the MIT Department of
    Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.


For a more detailed brochure (including application forms and
information about housing and fees), please contact:

        Lori Avirett-Mackenzie
        Rm 209
        MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
        545 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
 Tel: (617)-253-6837
                                                                            Fax: (617)-253-6652

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