You are hereby invited to a gathering on November 17 at 5:30 pm in room C124 of the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. We are having a panel discussion focused on incorporating parallelism into the Computer Science curriculum. Of course, you might need to purchase a day pass to SC09 to attend, if you are not otherwise attending.
We generally all believe it is a good idea to weave parallelism throughout the CS curriculum. There are a variety of paths to get there, roughly corresponding to number of panelists, of which I will be the moderator and facilitator. The panel held last year at SC08, had a standing-room-only animated crowd. It happens to be available in 15 minute chunks: part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. I expect similar festivities this year.
Our distinguished panel is composed of
- Wen-mei Hwu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who believes key computer architecture concepts, some performance optimization concepts, some program analysis concepts, some program transformation concepts, effective parallel programming patterns and algorithms, and fundamental parallelism concepts are required to train a successful undergraduate CS major.
- James Larus, Microsoft Research, who believes parallelism must be woven into the general series of courses, but sees the dilemma of the current awkward and crude tools imposing awareness of the underlying architecture on the student. He longs for a more elegant toolchain for use with students.
Simon McIntosh-Smith, University of Bristol, who has succumbed to the "Snow White" syndrome of advocating the dwarves parallel patterns from UCB. He also sees the utility of teaching the current prevalent tools: MPI and OpenMP, while remaining sensitive to the emerging potential standards: CUDA, OpenCL, Ct, map-reduce, etc.
- Bob Chesebrough, Intel, who sees the trouble in River City of a late introduction of parallelism to students, and of course recommends the "Think Method", in this case the "Think Parallel" method. Parallelism is all around and the key concepts can be conveyed without a computer.
Steve Parker, nVidia, who believes and has done many things. There needs to be a teaser to get you to come to the event. This is it.
Charlie Peck, Earlham College, who sees faculty education as key activity to get right, since many CS faculty have limited first hand experience with the myriad faces of parallelism. Involving students is a key part of this, for a unique form of learning takes place via an apprenticeship model of student involvement.
For several years now, we have been a parallel education working group composed of broad representation from industry, colleges/universities, hardware manufactures, and labs We are about to call ourselves something like "The Educational Alliance for a Parallel Future." I now know first hand what is involved in morphing from a working group to an alliance. When you are getting ready to make a tee-shirt, alliance ends up sounding sounding way cooler, and actually better reflects who we are. We will also be releasing a parallel crossword puzzle. This is not one solved in parallel, though it might be if someone is looking over your shoulder. The subject matter is of many things parallel. Stay tuned, we'll point you to it, once it debuts at SC09.