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Patterns for Parallel Software Design by Jorge Luis Ortega-Arjona

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Preface

Parallelism is used to create programs that are intended to execute on many processors simultaneously. Today these processors may all be packed onto a single chip (known as multi-core processors), into one box (yielding a multiprocessor or parallel computer) or may be separate, autonomous machines connected by a network (a distributed system). In all cases, each processor works on part of the problem and they all proceed together, exchanging data, towards a single objective.

Nowadays, parallelism is on its way to truly become the mainstream of computing. In recent years the most powerful computer system, by definition, has been a parallel computer. A simple reason for this is that once manufacturers have built the fastest processor that current technology can support, two of them are expected to execute faster. Today computer manufacturers are discovering that adding more processors to the same computer is often a highly efficient way to achieve more computing power at a low incremental cost. Hence, recent multiprocessor computers are often more powerful, and relatively less expensive. The computer market tends towards systems based on multiple processors. Within the next few years, software companies will need to start producing and selling applications that execute on these multiprocessor computers.

A parallel application or program can be defined in general terms as the specification of a set of processes that execute simultaneously, communicating among themselves to ...

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