Parallel computers and parallel algorithms

125. R. P. Brent, Parallel computers and parallel algorithms, Australian Computer Science Communications 13, 1 (1991), 1 (abstract of invited paper).

Abstract: dvi (3K), pdf (30K), ps (28K).


The era of serial computation, typified by Von Neumann computers and Turing machines, is coming to an end.  Parallel computation is now central to Computer Science, and its importance will increase in the future.

I shall discuss the motivation for parallel computation (physical constraints on serial computation, biological examples of parallel computation).  I shall describe some practical parallel computer architectures - tightly coupled synchronous machines, loosely coupled asychronous networks, shared memory and local memory machines, hypercubes and systolic arrays.  Concepts such as the speedup and efficiency of parallel algorithms will be defined and illustrated by some examples.


The invited paper was based on a George and Sandra Forsythe memorial lecture presented at the Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, February 1990.

For related work see [128, 130, 131, 136].

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