Project seminar: Parallel and Distributed Systems

Winter term 2015/2016

Frank Feinbube, M.Sc., Felix Eberhardt, M.Sc., Max Plauth, M.Sc.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Polze

Since the very beginning of computers, processors were build with ever-increasing clock frequencies and instruction-level optimizations for faster serial code execution, such as ILP, caches, or speculative engines. Software developers and industry got used to the fact that applications get faster by just exchanging the underlying hardware. For several years now, these rules are proven to be no longer valid. Moore's first law about the ever-increasing number of transistors per die is still valid, but decreased structural sizes and increased power consumption demand stalling, or even reduced, clock frequencies. Due to this development, serial execution performance no longer improves automatically with the next processor generation.

In the 'many-core era' that happens now, additional transistors are used not to speed up serial code paths, but to offer multiple execution engines ('cores') per processor. This changes every desktop-, server-, or even mobile system into a parallel computer. The exploitation of additional transistors is therefore now the responsibility of software, which makes parallel programming a mandatory approach for all software with scalability demands.

This project seminar is about practical experiences with parallel software development. We target various programming models for shared memory systems, distributed memory systems, and accelerators.


The course is organized in bi-weekly parallel programming exercises. Every other week, we will discuss the results of the latest exercise and introduce the next one.

Dates: Wednesdays, 13:30 - 15:00, HS 3

Oct 14th 2015 introduction of the course and assignment 1
Nov 04th 2015 discussion of assignment 1, introduction of assignment 2
Nov 18th 2015 discussion of assignment 2, introduction of assignment 3
Dec 2nd 2015 discussion of assignment 3, introduction of assignment 4
Dec 16th 2015 discussion of assignment 4
Jan 13th 2016 introduction of assignment 5
Feb 3rd 2016 discussion of assignment 5, introduction of assignment 6
Mar 2nd 2016 (optional) discussion of assignment 6

Details: 3 ECTS points

Grades are based on the following criteria:
  • Successful submission of assignments (i.e. validation script passes).
  • Submissions deliver correct results for additional runs with different input data.
  • Each student has to present their solutions during class (2 times).
  • Remarkable solutions (uncommon approaches, clever strategies, outstanding coding style) are rewarded with a bonus score
  • Solutions that deliver the best performance (top ten percentile of submitted solutions) get a bonus, as well


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Conference Paper

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Web Page

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  • A. Bechtolsheim, The Road To Exascale. 2009.