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Task Parallelism and Synchronization: An Overview of Explicit Parallel Programming Languages

Dounia Khaldi, Pierre Jouvelot, Corinne Ancourt, Francois Irigoin
CRI, Mathematiques et systemes, MINES ParisTech, 35 rue Saint-Honore, 77300 Fontainebleau, France
Technical Report CRI/A-486, MINES ParisTech, 2012

@techreport{khaldi2012task,

   title={Task Parallelism and Synchronization: An Overview of Explicit Parallel Programming Languages},

   author={Khaldi, D. and Jouvelot, P. and Ancourt, C. and Irigoin, F.},

   year={2012},

   institution={Technical Report CRI/A-486, MINES ParisTech}

}

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Programming parallel machines as effectively as sequential ones would ideally require a language that provides high-level programming constructs in order to avoid the programming errors frequent when expressing parallelism. Since task parallelism is often considered more error-prone than data parallelism, we survey six popular and efficient parallel programming languages that tackle this difficult issue: Cilk, Chapel, X10, Habanero-Java, OpenMP and OpenCL. Using as single running example a parallel implementation of the computation of the Mandelbrot set, this paper describes how the fundamentals of task parallel programming, namely collective and point-to-point synchronization and mutual exclusion, are dealt with in these languages. Our study suggests that, even though there is a wealth of various names and notions introduced by these languages, they all boil down to three key task concepts: creation, synchronization and atomicity. The paper is designed to give users and language and compiler designers an overview of current parallel languages.
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