Parallel Programming Fall 2020
Parallel computing is found everywhere in modern computing. Multi-core CPUs and GPUs, supercomputers,
and even mobile devices such as smartphones all provide ways to efficiently utilize parallel processing
on these architectures and devices. The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the foundations
of parallel programming and to consider the performance gains and trade-offs involved in implementing and
designing parallel computing systems. Specifically, this course will place an emphasis on concepts related
to parallel programming on multicore processors. Programming exercises and projects will be implemented using
the Go programming language.
The following information below about the course is subject to change.
Office: Remote for the Quarter
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00pm-5:00pm CT. Check Piazza for signup
Email: Contact on Piazza
Office hours: Saturdays 2:00pm-4:00pm CT. Check Piazza for signup
|| Online videos will be posted on Wednesday evenings
|| Monday 5:30pm–6:30pm CT, (Zoom meetings)
All forms of communication such as important class announcements, general discussion, course material,
etc. will be done on Piazza.
With the transition to online learning for Fall 2020, it is crucial that you regulary check
Piazza. You are required to check it at least twice a day! Piazza is also the best place to get help
The TA's and I will monitor Piazza as frequently as possible and often be able to answer immediately.
are encouraged to help their peers on Piazza by contributing when it is convenient.
This course will not have a required textbook; although, for those students who may find it helpful to know
the topics we will dicuss each week, readings will come from the text:
and will be shown on the course schedule. Along with these readings and the lecture notes, students may
find the following references helpful in understanding the course material:
- The Art of Multiprocessor Programming by Maurice Herlihy and Nir Shavit
- An Introduction to Parallel Programming by Peter S. Pacheco
- The Go Programming Language by Alan A. A. Donovan and Brian W. Kernighan
Golang 1.15: https://golang.org/dl/
Visual Studio Code (Text editor suggestion, not required): https://code.visualstudio.com
GoLand (IDE suggestion, not required): https://www.jetbrains.com/go/
I will be available during office hours. The pace of this course is rapid,
so please email me or come to office hours if you feel you're falling behind or need help.
Topics that will be explored in the course will include (but not limited to) the following:
Processes and threads
Hardware mechanisms for parallel computing
Synchronization and communication for parallel systems
Parallel data structures
Memory consistency and hierarchies for parallel computing
Patterns of parallel programming
Parallel programming on GPUs
Additional topics dependent on student request and time
A detailed description of when each topic will be discussed is on the course schedule page.
Course Content Distribution (Fall 2020)
As we transition to online learning for Fall 2020, the way in which lecture material and
course content will be delivered will change. The course lectures will be provided
in two ways:
The course will include weekly homework, one exam, and projects. The weekly assignments will contain
practice problems to help enforce the concepts learned during a lecture. The projects provide the
opportunity to apply the skills you learned to develop systems that can benefit from parallelization.
Potential project domains could include: AI and machine learning, computer graphics, cryptocurrency
technologies, scientific visualization, etc.
Please look at the assignment page to
check the assigned and due dates for each problem set and project.
All students may use up to two 24-hour extensions for the assignments during the quarter. These
extensions are all-or-nothing: you cannot use a portion of an extension and have the rest “carry over” to
another extension. If extraordinary circumstances (illness, family emergency, etc.) prevent a student from
meeting a deadline, the student must inform their instructor before the deadline. You cannot use an
extension for the last project!
Please note that having a heavy workload in a given week does not qualify as an extraordinary circumstance.
The purpose of the two extensions is precisely to give you some flexibility in weeks when you are busier
We sometimes make mistakes, and are happy to review any grading decision that you feel is unfair or
unjustified. However, it is also your responsibility to make these requests in a timely manner. Requests for
regrades must be submitted no later than one week
after a graded piece of work is returned to you.
time, we will not consider any requests for regrades, regardless of whether the regrade request is reasonable
Process of Submitting a Regrade Request
- Post a private message on Piazza to all instructors.
- Make sure the subject states "Regrade Request for HW #N or Project #N", where N is the project or homework
- Regrade requests must be submitted on Piazza. No other form of requests (e.g., email) will be considered.
Please note that there is no timeline for processing regrade requests. However, you regrade request will be
handled before the end of the quarter.
NOTE : The assigned and due dates for homework and projects are subject to change with notice.
There will be one exam in this course. The exam will be a mixture of coding exercises and short-answer questions.
You will be given 4 days to complete the online exam.
| Quarter Exam
|| 90 minutes
||Thursday November 19th 12:00pm CT - Monday November 23rd 12:00pm CT (Week 8)
The exact details about how this exam will be adminstered will come as we approach the exam date.
Missed exams and late registrant policy
There are no make-up exams in this class. There also will not be any earlier exams taken unless due to
extraordinary circumstances such as an
The final grade is determined as follows:
Grades are not curved in this class. The follwing is set of grading boundaries for this course:
- 95-100: A
- 90-94: A-
- 85-89: B+
- 80-84: B
- 75-79: B-
- 70-74: C+
<70: Dealt on a case-b y-case basis
You must adhere to The University of Chicago and the Masters Program in Computer Science policy on academic
The universitys' and programs' rules have the final say in all cases, but the following rules of thumb
honesty as it
pertains to this course:
- Do not copy anyone's work.
- Do not allow your work to be copied by anyone.
- Do not submit work identical to another student's.
- Document all collaboration.
- Credit your sources.
To expand on the second rule, sharing completed or partially completed work in advance of its deadline in
any way, including posting to the Internet, is expressly forbidden.
We take academic honestly seriously and dishonest behavior will result in serious consequences.
We will be using Zoom in this class. We expect your interactions via Zoom to be consistent with an in-person
class experience. Respect the people you’re working with. Enter the Zoom meetings muted if possible
(unfortunately, it will not be possible if you’re calling in), and unmute to speak. Raise your hand if you’d
like to speak. [There’s a “Raise Hand” button on the participant page.] If your background is unusually noisy,
use the chat channel instead of unmuting. We strongly encourage you to have your camera on during our Zoom
sessions, but we’ll understand if some of you prefer to keep your video off.
Note that you can set your name in your Zoom profile, so you don’t have to go with whatever was assigned. We
encourage you to include your pronouns in your name (if so, please include them after your last name).
Our Zoom class meetings will be recorded and saved to the cloud to allow students in this class to review the
discussion, and especially to allow students who can’t participate the opportunity to benefit from class. We
will not make these recordings available to anyone but class participants, we will not make them available after
the quarter, and students will not be allowed to save copies. However, we have no way to guarantee that students
will follow this policy. If you have FERPA concerns, please mask yourself accordingly, e.g., by turning off
video and using an alias.
The University of Chicago is committed to diversity and rigorous inquiry that arises from multiple perspectives.
We concur with that commitment and also believe that we have the highest quality interactions and can creatively
solve more problems when we recognize and share our diversity. We thus expect to maintain a productive learning
environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. We view the diversity that
students bring to this class as a resource, strength and benefit. It is our intent to present materials and
activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexuality, disability, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race,
religious background, and immigration status. Any suggestions as to how to further such a positive and open
environment in the class will be appreciated and given serious consideration.
If you have a preferred name different from what appears on the class roster, or preferred gender pronouns you
would like us to use, please let us know.
The University of Chicago is committed to ensuring equitable access to our academic programs and services.
Students with disabilities who have been approved for the use of academic accommodations by Student Disability Services (SDS)
and need a reasonable
accommodation(s) to participate fully in this course should follow the procedures established by SDS for using
accommodations. Timely notifications are required in order to ensure that your accommodations can be implemented.
Please meet with me to discuss your access needs in this class after you have completed the SDS procedures for
Phone: (773) 702-6000
UChicago Health Pact
All students on campus are required to adhere to the guidelines in the UChicago Health Pact in order to promote a
safe environment in the classroom.
- Secure face coverings must be worn appropriately at all times at all times while in University buildings
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others
- Do not attend and in-person class if you feel unwell or are experiencing COVID-19
The complete text of the UChic
Reporting COVID-19 Related Concerns
Any concerns over inappropriate PPE usage, physical distancing, cleaning/disinfection, or other COVID-19 related
public health concerns should be directed to UCAIR
. If there is an
emergency, call 773-702-8181 or dial 123 on any campus phone.
Reporting COVID-19 Exposure or a Confirmed Case
If you were potentially exposed to COVID-19 or your COVID-19 test results come back positive, reach out
immediately to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu.
Recording and Deletion Policies for Academic Year 2020-1
The Recording and Deletion Policies for the current academic year can be found in the Student Manual under
Petitions, Audio & Video Recording on Campus
- Do not record, share, or disseminate any course sessions, videos, transcripts, audio, or chats.
- Do not share links for the course to those not currently enrolled.
- Any Zoom cloud recordings will be automatically deleted 90 days after the
completion of the recording.
Students who have been exposed to or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact UChicago Student Wellness
immediately to be tested, and reach out to
their area Dean of Students to request accommodations for classes until:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and;
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery- defined as resolution of fever without the use of
fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).
Course description originally written by David MacQueen and slightly modified by Lamont Samuels
I would also like to thank, J. Alex Halderman
, for allowing me to adapt his
site design for this course.