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Intel Threading Building Blocks by James Reinders

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Patterns

Mark Twain once observed, “The past does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” And so it is with computer programs: code may not be reused over and over without change, but patterns do emerge.

Condensing years of parallel programming experience into patterns is not an exact science. However, we can explain parallel programming approaches in more detail than just talking about task versus data decomposition.

Object-oriented programming has found value in the Gang of Four (Gamma, Helm, Johnson, and Vlissides) and their landmark work, Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (Addison Wesley). Many credit that book with bringing more order to the world of object-oriented programming. The book gathered the collective wisdom of the community and boiled it down into simple “patterns” with names, so people could talk about them.

A more recent book, Patterns for Parallel Programming, by Mattson et al. (Addison Wesley), has similarly collected the wisdom of the parallel programming community. Its point is that the field of parallel programming has moved from chaos to established practice. Experts use common tricks and have their own language to talk about these tricks. With these patterns in mind, programmers can quickly get up to speed in this new field, just as object-oriented programmers have done for years with the famous Gang of Four book.

Patterns for Parallel Programming is a serious and detailed look at how to approach parallelism. Tim Mattson often lectures ...

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