Feeds

RISC daddy conjures Moore's Lawless parallel universe

The 64-core laptop

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

The New Parallel Paradigm

Another mind shift that the IT industry is going to have to undergo is a change in the way we think about programming. Patterson and his team believe that there should be two layers of software in this new parallel paradigm, one he called the efficiency layer and the other he called the productivity layer. The efficiency layer would be comprised of about 10 per cent of programmers, the experts at creating frameworks and libraries, the people who can get down close to the metal and wring out efficiencies in code. The remaining 90 per cent of programmers would work in the productivity layer, and they would be domain experts in particular fields or industries, who take the frameworks and libraries and turn them into applications.

Now here's the neat bit. To help make parallel programming easier, Par Lab's experts want to take advantage of parallelism itself and create "auto-tuners" that run lots of different optimizations on code as it is compiled and heuristically search for the best version of the compiled code to run on a particular piece of hardware. Patterson said that in early tests, an auto-tuner capable of machine learning was about 4,000 times faster than an expert at tuning the code - and tuning for parallel architectures is the big problem with those architectures.

There are a lot more challenges that the industry faces in coping with parallelism, and one of them might just be an explosion of custom-made processors, FPGAs, and other computing elements that get woven together into future systems that do not look like the relatively simple devices we called personal computers or servers a few years ago.

Patterson is also espousing that processors and the other elements of systems have standardized methods of gathering information on power and performance to feed back into the programming tools, so efficiency programmers can figure out why the system isn't using all of its available memory bandwidth or productivity programmers can do what-if analysis on what happens to thermals or performance in the system if they change their code.

"There was a decade or so where we were polishing a pretty round stone," Patterson explained. "Going forward, the field is really wide open, but research really has to deliver on this. The IT industry is really going to have to deliver on doubling the core count every year and on getting value out of that."

Either that or the software business collapses and a whole lot of IT jobs go out the window as the industry shifts from a growth market, where we all have software driving us to upgrade to faster (well, more capacious) systems to a replacement one where we just get a new one when the old one breaks. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.