The multicore revolution is at hand. Parallel processing is no longer the exclusive domain of supercomputers or clusters. The entry-level server and even the basic developer workstation have the capacity for hardware- and software-level parallel processing. The question is what does this mean for the software developer and what impact will it have on the software development process? In the race for who has the fastest computer, it is now more attractive for chip manufacturers to place multiple processors on a single chip than it is to increase the speed of the processor. Until now the software developer could rely on the next new processor to speed up the software without having to make any actual improvements to the software. Those days are gone. To increase overall system performance, computer manufacturers have decided to add more processors rather than increase clock frequency. This means if the software developer wants the application to benefit from the next new processor, the application will have to be modified to exploit multiprocessor computers.

Although sequential programming and single core application development have a place and will remain with us, the landscape of software development now reflects a shift toward multithreading and multiprocessing. Parallel programming techniques that were once only the concern of theoretical computer scientists and university academics are in the process of being reworked for the masses. The ideas of multicore application ...

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