The Infosys Labs research blog tracks trends in technology with a focus on applied research in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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Is Parallel Computing a Rocket Science or Esoteric? Part 2

The preceding part spoke about the advent and history of the realm of Parallel Computing. This part will further speak on the evolution of Parallel Computing and attempt to answer "Why Parallel Computing is so important all of a sudden today?"

In the last half century, Parallel Computing has evolved, if said, in a covert fashion without the renown that it has managed to amass in the last decade. We see so much of advancements in the Parallel Computing front today, which may seem overwhelming at times, but it is not that hard to discern as to why there has been an upsurge in this technology frontier.

So why so much of interest in Parallel Computing now, even when it existed 50 years ago? As Prof. John Kubatowicz says "Parallelism is Everywhere" - accounting for the fact that modern microprocessors have a billion transistor's rampant today even in handheld mobiles devices and clearly one must make them to work in parallel. Conversely, Parallel Computing is a trend today because it is forced upon us than our fancy. We have now hit the upper limit to making a single processor even faster in future than it is today given the present properties of the chip raw materials, say Silicon. Inadvertently, adding more than one processor to the chip die seems to be the only answer increasing the scope to program in parallel exponentially. Another reason for this astronomical boom is due to the advancement and evolution of computer hardware that has surfaced a new breed of processors into main stream computing than ancillary graphics processing, the Graphics Processing Unit(GPU).

The General-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU) that involved hoodwinking the GPU to do computation in past, has now evolved into GPU Computing that inherently caters to complex computation owing to changes in the GPU hardware facilitating parallel programming. Today we see the giant microprocessor manufacturers in a tryst to make their chips massively parallel. New parallel programming languages are finding mass appeal every day. Also a GPU is no more considered a subordinate; this outlook has led to a new phase in multiprocessor technology influencing the creation of Accelerated Processing Unit.

To be Continued... 

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