# Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with Many “Parallel” Single Steps

It was a dark raining night at Atlanta International Airport in November, 2005. I have been roaming inside airport tunnel for hours while in transit. By midnight, gradually people were arriving at the gate area waiting for the final boarding call for United Airline's flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil. This was my first international trip in 2005. My job this time is simple: Team up with instructor Eric Moore, an Intel Software Engineer, to deliver the first ever Multi-core faculty training class in America continent to some of the best universities in Brazil. Eric and I stuffed 40 copies of class materials, lab books and CD's into our luggage as we don't know when they will arrive if using regular shipping. Airplane is crowded and seems no way to find extra leg room from a empty seat. It ended  up with 9 hours journey before airplane approaching Sao Paulo. Through airplane windows, I saw many soccer fields passed under. It reminds me of what is the best for Brazilian.

Intel Brazil occupied two floors inside an office skyscraper, and people outside Intel security door wear suit and tie, which are rarely seen in Portland. I guess our Brazil peers had given us most detailed helps as we had specific  name of Taxi cab that we should call in Sao Paulo airport.

We arrived at Brazil without any hardware, and it seems very challenging in 2005 to find a dozen of multi-core systems and make them available for the faculty member to practice the labs. After two day’s jointly effort of multiple teams including staff from university, eventually, we were able to set up the classroom inside an unfinished lab with systems borrowed from multiple engineering teams, local IT and universities. It looks a bit un-organized with different rack-mountable servers, desktops and laptops hiding at different corners with significant machine noise and heat. But it is a highly functional classroom.

Approximating pi with 1000000000 rectangles

The value of PI is  3.141592653590

The time to calculate PI was 41.796000 seconds

Press any key to continue . . .

Approximating pi with 1000000000 rectangles

The value of PI is  3.141592653590

The time to calculate PI was 29.781000 seconds

Press any key to continue . . .

Yes, it is simple! We were unmistakably calculating Pi in the classroom and compared the difference between serialization and parallelization paradigm. It is one of over a dozen examples and labs that we were teaching to more than a dozen of prestigious professors from some of the best universities in Brazil including the University of São Paulo (Augusto Mendes Gomes Júnior Universidade de São Paulo (USP)), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais--UFMG) etc.

One of the faculty members who attended the class is blind, but he was able to actively listen the class, participate the discussion and run the lab on a special laptop we configured before the class with help of his assistant (or friend). Eric instructed some of the building blocks for multi-core programming that for sure will lead to the fundamental change to the computer programming. The codes discussed in the class are only a few hundred lines in total. But it seems everyone in the class can feel the big impact of those lines of code to the future computer science education. The class frequently erupted into warm discussions (with Portuguese and English) and everyone also gave great attention to the labs which instructor has no time to cover. That was fun. As one of the professor mentioned, the applications and programs in academic world are frequently compiled from tens of thousands line of codes, but a journey of a thousand miles will no longer begins with a single step but with many “parallel” steps in future.

This was a pioneer class that we have delivered to academic community. In the following years, several dozen more classes have been held in United State, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil in America continent (globally too), As one of the team who delivered those classes one by one, it is of great pleasure to cheers this significant milestone for 1000 universities’ enrollments to Intel’s Academic community, including 164 in United State, 32 in Mexico and more in other Latin America countries.

PS:

Before heading home after class, I dropped by at a big shopping mall on my way back to hotel, and I bought a T-shirt which I saw is same as the ones that Brazil soccer team wear in World Cup with Brazil's Flag (a green base with a yellow diamond). It was proved to be the best ever gift that I have bought for my son as he wear it for almost three years until it is too small. Later, my son told me the green symbolizes Brazil's lush vegetation, while the yellow represents Brazil's wealth in gold. Inside the diamond, there is a blue sphere with 27 stars inside of it. The blue stands for the deep blue hue of the sky in the tropics, and lastly, the 27 stars represent Brazil's capital and its federal states.

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