ECE 1747H Parallel Programming
Fall 2016


Cristiana Amza
BA 4142
(416) 946-0299


Arnamoy Bhattacharyya
BA 4187


GB 220

Class Time:

Fridays 4:00-6:00 PM

Project List:


Office Hours:

Fridays 2:00-4:00 PM (BA 4142)

Important Information about Project


- Sep. 16, 2016:  Website Launched.


This course is an intermediate graduate course in the area of parallel programming. In the first part of the course we will briefly introduce the architecture of parallel systems and the concept of data dependencies/races. The three most commonly used parallel programming paradigms (shared memory, distributed memory and data parallel) will  then be examined in detail. An overview of automatic parallelization of programs and the use of parallel processing in related domains such as parallel and distributed database transaction processing will also be given. 
In the second part of the course selected research topics will be examined. This part of the course consists of student-lead discussions of relevant research papers.  A research-intensive group project in an area related to program parallelization is a fundamental part of the course.  The projects can be done individually or in small teams of two or three people. The project outcome will be presented in a class session at the end of the semester. A list of suggested research projects has been posted (project_suggestions.txt). Students are also encouraged to propose their own projects and discuss them with me. Please also read:
Class Goals and Advice from Instructor


Textbooks and Pre-requisites

There is no required textbook for the class. You should be fine with the lectures and papers posted on this site. However, here are some suggestions for additional reading:

Parallel Programming in C with MPI and OpenMP
by Michael J. Quinn

Threads Primer: A Guide to Multithreaded Programming
by Bil Lewis, Daniel J. Berg

Concurrency Control and Recovery in Database Systems
by Philip A. Bernstein, Vassos Hadzilacos, Nathan Goodman (free on-line edition you can download from in .pdf)

It would be good for you if you had basic understanding of operating system principles, basic architecture and some knowledge of network programming. These are not strict pre-requisites though, most of the necessary material will be covered in class.

Help for Project

Sample project report: Link to Sample Project Report.

Help for Programming Assignments

Pthread program examples have been posted here: Code Examples.

Please also consult this pthread How to use guide and this pthread reference manual

Programming Assignments



***Here are a list of papers you will present. Please select a paper that you would like to present using this link. SELECTION IS BASED ON FIRST COME FIRST SERVE BASIS. Also, a maximum of 2 people can select a single paper. In that case, it becomes a group presentation. There is no connection between paper presentation group and final project group, meaning that you may end up presenting with a person who is not in your final project group. The choice for forming the final project group is free, with a limit of max 3 people per group. You can work individually only with permission from the instructor.





Due Dates

Sep 16

Intro and project suggestion Slides-part1 Slides-part2



Sep 23

Parallel Programming and Optimizations Pthreads OpenMP Slides



Sep 30

Parallel Programming and Optimizations Project ideas: TM/Games
Answer to Challenge
Brain Pipeline

1.Locality Aware Dynamic Load Management for Massively Multiplayer Games, Jin Chen, Baohua Wu, Margaret Delap, Bjorn Knutsson, Honghui Lu and Cristiana Amza, ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming (PPoPP 2005),June 2005
Shiyuan Wu , Meng Liu

Paper summaries

Oct 7

Lock Synchronization and Optimization


Informal oral project proposals.

2. Parallelization and Performance of Interactive Multiplayer Game Servers, Ahmed Abdelkhalek and Angelos Bilas. In Proc. of the 18th International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS 2004), April 2004
Joseph Azzam

3. Donnybrook: Enabling Large-Scale, High-Speed, Peer-to-peer Games, Ashwin Bharambe, John R. Douceur, Jacob R. Lorch, Thomas Moscibroda, Jeffrey Pang, Srinivasan Seshan, and Xinyu Zhuang, SIGCOMM, 2008.
Jonathon Wong, Bogdan Scaunasu

Proposal & Paper summaries

Oct 14

Distributed Applications and Environments

Informal oral project proposals (contd).


4. Algorithms for scalable synchronization on shared-memory multiprocessors , John M. Mellor-Crummey and Michael L. Scott. ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, 9 (1):21-65, February 1991.
Jiayue Zhang , Linghao Yu

Tutorial on MapReduce

5. CloudBLAST: Combining MapReduce and Virtualization on Distributed Resources for Bioinformatics Applications
Naba Sadia Siddiqui, Vipin Bakshi

Proposal & Paper summaries

Oct 21

Software Distributed Shared Memory


6. Memory Coherence in Shared Virtual Memory Systems, Kai Li, Paul Hudak, 1991 ivy91.pdf
Andre Lo, Xianglu Shi

7. Implementation and Performance of Munin. John Carter, John Bennett, and Willy Zwaenepoel
Tianzheng Wang, Eric Zhu

8. TreadMarks: Distributed Shared Memory on Standard Workstations and Operating Systems , P. Keleher, A.L. Cox, S. Dwarkadas and W. Zwaenepoel, OSDI '94.

Short Introduction to Event-Driven Servers by Instructor

Paper summaries

Oct 28

Programming Paradigms for new Environments: OpenMP on Clusters, CUDA, and OpenCL for GPUs

9. OpenMP for Networks of SMPs , Y.C. Hu, H. Lu, A.L. Cox, and W. Zwaenepoel, Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, vol. 60 (12), pp. 1512-1530, December 2000
Sowmya Ganapathy

10. A Performance Study of General-Purpose Applications On Graphics Processors Using CUDA , Shuai Che, Michael Boyer, Jiayuan Meng, David Tarjan, Jeremy W. Sheaffer, Kevin Skadron, JPDC, Volume 68, Issue 10 General-Purpose Processing Using Graphics Processing Units, October 2008.
Yike Ouyang, Wenchang Zhang

Papers summaries

Nov 4 

Multithreading vs Event-Driven model for Server Code


11. From CUDA to OpenCL: Towards a performance-portable solution for multi-platform GPU programming , Du Peng, Rick Weber, Piotr Luszczek, Stanimire Tomov, Gregory Peterson, and Jack Dongarra, Parallel Computing 38, no. 8 (2012): 391-407.
JiaRen( Stephen ) Bai, Aaron Fong

12. Productivity of GPUs Under Different Programming Paradigms, Maria Malik,Teng Li, Umar Sharif, Rabia Shahid, Tarek El-Ghazawi, Greg Newby, Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience 2012.
Dade Sheng, Rui Yang

Paper summaries

Nov 11

Advanced Synchronization Mechanisms in Multiprocessor and Distributed Systems

13b. Flash: An Efficient and Portable Web Server , Vivek S. Pai, Peter Druschel, Willy Zwaenepoel, USENIX Annual Technical Conference, 1999.
Timur Malgazhdarov, Simon So

14. SEDA: An Architecture for Well-Conditioned, Scalable Internet Services , Presented at the Eighteenth Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP'01), Lake Louise, Canada, October 24, 2001.
Yan Li, Xu Su

Paper summaries

Nov 18

Advanced Synchronization Mechanisms in Multiprocessor and Distributed Systems

15. Adaptive Overload Control for Busy Internet Servers, Matt Welsh and David Culler. In Proceedings of the 4th USENIX Conference on Internet Technologies and Systems (USITS'03), March 2003.
Chen Sun, Siyuan Chen

16. Lazy Asynchronous I/O for Event Driven Servers, Elmeleegy, Anupam Chanda, Alan L. Cox and Willy Zwaenepoel, in Proceedings of the USENIX 2004 Annual Technical Conference.
Lino Carrillo

Paper summaries

Nov 25

Nonblocking Synchronization and TM

17. Code Transformations to Improve Memory Parallelism, Vijay S. Pai and Sarita Adve
Suvanjan Mukherjee, Victor Zhang

18. Read Copy Update: Using Execution History to Solve Concurrency Problems, Mc Kenney P. andSlingwine J.
Fenghe Tang, Junming Wu

19. Software Transactional Memory for Dynamic-Sized Data Structures, Maurice Herlihy, Victor Luchangco, Mark Moir, William N. Scherer III, PODC 2003
Rui Pan, Chenxuan Wan

Paper summaries

Dec 2

Transactional Memory

Intel Haswell TSX

TSX Overview Slides

20. McRT-STM: A High Performance Software Transactional Memory System for a Multi-Core Runtime, Bratin Saha, Ali-Reza Adl-Tabatabai, Richard L. Hudson, Chi Cao Minh, Benjamin Hertzberg. PPoPP 2006
Vanessa Courville, Chen Liu

22. A Case for Staged Database Systems, Stavros Harizopoulos and Anastassia Ailamaki
Tong Zou, Lang Qian

Paper summaries

Dec 14


Project class presentation

Time: 10-4:30 p.m., Location: BA 1200


Dec 20

Final project report due (by e-mail to me and Arnamoy, just the report and any links, not the code, please)