Parallel Computing Fundamentals (A)

Description: This module is designed to introduce fundamental concepts in parallel computing in a CS I course. Topics include overview of computation on a multicore processor, data dependence and need for synchronization in parallel programs, parallel performance and Amdahls law and energy efficient computing. The concepts are illustrated with no particular binding to any programming language and therefore can be introduced in different varieties of CS I courses

Recommended Length: : 1 lecture (1 hr)

Recommended Course: CS I

Topics and Learning outcomes (per NSF/IEEE-TCPP PDC Curriculum):

  • [Architecture] Taxonomy: Flynn's taxonomy, data vs. control parallelism, shared/distributed memory
  • [Architecture] Multicore: Describe how cores share resources (cache, memory) and resolve conflicts
  • [Programming] Load balancing: Understand the effects of load imbalances on performance, and ways to balance load across threads or processes
  • [Programming] Amdahl's law: Know that speedup is limited by the sequential portion of a parallel program, if problem size is kept fixed
  • [Algorithm] Scalability in algorithms and architectures: Comprehend via several examples that having access more processors does not guarantee faster execution - the notion of inherent sequentiality

Lecture Material: [ PDF ] [ PPT ]

Pedagogical Notes: available to instructors only

Sample Exam Question: available to instructors only


Jun '15: Qasem speaks at HPC Workshop at Prairiw View A & M

Oct '14: Paper accepted at SIGCSE15

Oct '14: Short paper accepted at EduHPC14 (co-located with SC14)

Aug '14: First regional workshop held at Texas State

May '14: Call for participation in first regional workshop

Mar '14: Qasem serves as penelist in SIGCSE special session on PDC

Nov '13: Poster presented at Supercomputing conference

Sep '13: Paper accepted at EduPDHPC13

Aug '13: Qasem participates in CSinParallel Four Corners Workshop

Jul '13: Qasem receives Early Adopter grant

Mar '13: Qasem presents at NSF Showcase at SIGCSE13

Jan '13: Five new modules implemented

Aug '12: Burtscher receives Early Adopter grant


Apan Qasem (PI)
Department of Computer Science
Texas State University
601 University Dr
San Marcos, TX 78666

Office: Comal 307A
Phone: (512) 245-0347
Fax: (512) 245-8750
E-mail: apan "AT" txstate · edu