The Seventh Annual Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture


"A hardware-design inspired methodology for parallel programming"

Arvind, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT

Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 4:00 P.M.

Room 368 (CIT 3rd Floor)

One source of weaknesses in parallel programming has been the lack of compositionality; independently written parallel libraries and packages don't compose very well. We will argue that perhaps traditional procedural abstraction and abstract data types don't capture the essential differences between parallel and sequential programming. We will present a different notion of modules, based on guarded atomic actions, and view it as a resource to be shared concurrently by other modules. As opposed to implicitly or explicitly specifying parallelism in a program, we think of parallel programming as a process of synthesis from a set of modules with proper interfaces and composition rules. We will draw connections between this hardware-design inspired methodology and traditional approaches to multithreaded parallelism including programming based on transactions.


Arvind is the Johnson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT where in the late eighties his group, in collaboration with Motorola, built the Monsoon dataflow machines and its associated software. In 2000, Arvind started Sandburst which was sold to Broadcom in 2006. In 2003, Arvind co-founded Bluespec Inc., an EDA company to produce a set of tools for high-level synthesis. In 2001, Dr. R. S. Nikhil and Arvind published the book "Implicit parallel programming in pH". Arvind's current research interests are synthesis and verification of large digital systems described using Guarded Atomic Actions; and Memory Models for parallel architectures and languages.

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This lecture series honors Paris Kanellakis, a distinguished computer scientist who was an esteemed and beloved member of the Brown Computer Science department. Paris joined the Computer Science Department in 1981 and became a full professor in 1990. His research area was theoretical computer science, with emphasis on the principles of database systems, logic in computer science, the principles of distributed computing and combinatorial optimization. He died in an airplane crash on December 20, 1995, along with his wife, Maria Teresa Otoya, and their two young children, Alexandra and Stephanos Kanellakis.

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A reception will follow.

Host: Department of Computer Science