All about programming in GNU/LINUX

Parallelism Is Not Concurrency

Existential Type

In an earlier post I mentioned that one goal of the new introductory curriculum at Carnegie Mellon is to teach parallelism as the general case of computing, rather than an esoteric, specialized subject for advanced students.  Many people are incredulous when I tell them this, because it immediately conjures in their mind the myriad complexities of concurrency: locks, monitors, deadlock, dining philosophers, ….  And if you look at the recent research literature, you will see countless papers of the form (a) parallelism is important, so (b) let’s talk about concurrency.  The situation has gotten so bad that I think that most computer scientists cannot distinguish the two concepts.  (Or maybe they willfully confuse the two so as to justify funding for work on concurrency by appealing to the importance of parallelism.)

Given this state of affairs, I cannot explain what we are doing at Carnegie Mellon (to anyone who doesn’t…

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