The project aims at a better understanding of general-purpose parallel computing. The focus is on area-universal architectures and Bulk-Synchronous Parallelism (BSP). Area-Universal Networks (AUNs) are probably (almost) as efficient as any other computer of about the same cost (semiconductor area) and hence are excellent candidates for general purpose computing (indeed, AUNs are already adopted in some commercial machines). BSP provides a promising platform for a portable and efficient programming model.
APPROACH AND METHODS
The proposed research will cover various architectural, algorithmic, and programming aspects, and their interrelations.
Specific objectives include:
- A characterisation of the class of AUNs.
- The design of fault-tolerant AUNs.
- The relation between area-universal computation and the following paradigms for parallel computation: Shared-Memory, Bounded-Degree Networks, and BSP.
- Numerical algorithms for AUNs (specifically, for various vector and matric operations, QR decomposition, eigenvalues, singular values and data structures for sparse matrices).
- Combinatorial algorithms for AUNs (specifically, for sorting and routing, pattern searching and matching, and image processing).
- Bulk-Synchronous Programming Languages (GL and extensions of Fortran).
The result of this project will strengthen the foundations for both the design of general-purpose architectures and the development of efficient and usable software for such architectures. Such results should be quite relevant to the realisation of powerful general-purpose parallel computers in the near future.
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OX1 3QD Oxford