[concurrency-interest] Economist article

David Holmes davidcholmes at aapt.net.au
Tue Jun 14 18:30:11 EDT 2011


Gregg,

Gregg Wonderly writes:
> On 6/14/2011 5:02 PM, David Holmes wrote:
> > And it's always written as-if we'd never had multi-processors
> > before we had multi-core.
>
> That's a fair viewpoint, but multi-processor machines were a rare
> occurrence.
> Only when multi-core hit the desktop was there plenty of places
> to "witness" the
> problems of single path software designs on multi-path processor systems.

Maybe it's an issue of terminology but dual-processor desktops were not that
rare 10 years ago (dual proc laptops maybe). Further, hyper-threaded systems
were far from rare and still exposed race conditions masked on true
uniprocessors.

Multi-core didn't come out of thin air from left field and take us by
surprise - well not some of "us" anyway.

I find all of these articles completely disengenous because they are written
as if MP/MT/MC is something brand new that has hit us unaware and that is
just a load of bulldust. Certainly the applicability of MP/MT/MC is
spreading and the number of cores is increasing, but the basic principles of
concurrent programming apply on 2 cores as well as 200 - it is scalability
and performance that suffers as the number of cores increases (with shared
memory multi-threading anyway).

David


> In so many ways, multi-core was "sprung" on software developers and their
> development tool sets with little help and support for developers
> to understand
> and adequately "prove" software systems to be safe and operate as
> designed, really!
>
> Gregg Wonderly
>
> > David
> >
> >     -----Original Message-----
> >     *From:* concurrency-interest-bounces at cs.oswego.edu
> >     [mailto:concurrency-interest-bounces at cs.oswego.edu]*On
> Behalf Of *Joe Bowbeer
> >     *Sent:* Wednesday, 15 June 2011 4:49 AM
> >     *To:* concurrency-interest
> >     *Subject:* Re: [concurrency-interest] Economist article
> >
> >     The problem is always stated as "we have these multicores
> so now we have to
> >     figure out how to use them".
> >
> >     On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM, Tim Peierls wrote:
> >
> >         I didn't pick up the everything-is-a-nail vibe. The
> article just points
> >         out that languages, programmers, and educators are
> unexpectedly playing
> >         catch-up because of the proliferation of multicores on
> the desktop,
> >         something readers of the Economist probably wouldn't
> know about without
> >         being in the biz.
> >
> >         --tim
> >
> >         On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 12:53 PM, Joe Bowbeer wrote:
> >
> >             "Parallel programming, once an obscure niche, is
> the focus of
> >             increasing interest as multicore chips proliferate
> in ordinary PCs."
> >
> >
> <http://www.economist.com/node/18750706?frsc=dg%7Ca><http://www.ec
onomist.com/node/18750706?frsc=dg%7Ca>
>             http://www.economist.com/node/18750706?frsc=dg%7Ca
>
>             The article mentions Scala but not java.util.concurrent.
>
>             To me, this problem still seems more "derivative" of the
technology
>             and less driven by consumer demand, and I'm disappointed that
The
>             Economist could not find a more compelling statement.
>
>             Is this really a case of: To the man with a multi-headed
hammer,
>             every problem looks like a multi-headed nail?
>
>             Maybe my mobile-shaded perspective will change now that
multicores
>             are shipping on handsets...
>
>             Joe
>
>
>
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