Parallel Computing at PDC09 and TechEd Europe 2009



It’s fall, and that means conference season!  In November, members of the Parallel Computing Platform team will be descending upon both PDC09 in Los Angeles and TechEd Europe 2009 in Berlin.  We’re extremely excited to see all of you there and to discuss the new support for parallel computing that’s coming in Visual Studio 2010, Visual C++ 10, and the .NET Framework 4.  Please find us and introduce yourselves… we’re looking forward to speaking with you.

There are a bunch of cool sessions at both conferences having to do with parallel computing. Here’s a rundown of relevant announced sessions at the PDC:

A Computing Platform That ScalesSee how Windows Server 2008 R2 represents the latest evolution of the Windows Server operating system and supports high-end hardware systems with large numbers of microprocessors.  Learn how new Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) and User-Mode Scheduling (UMS) API’s effectively enable application developers to “minimize contention and maximize locality” of system resources relative to thread execution contexts. See how these new platform capabilities are extended via libraries such as the C++ Concurrency Runtime and the .NET Parallel Extensions along with complementary tools support within Visual Studio 2010.
Axum: A .NET Language for Safe and Scalable ConcurrencyAxum is an incubation project from Microsoft’s Parallel Computing Platform that aims to validate a safe and productive parallel programming model for the .NET framework. It’s a language that builds on the principles of isolation, agents, and message-passing to increase application safety, responsiveness, scalability and developer productivity. Come learn about Axum and other advanced concepts we are exploring including data flow networks, asynchronous methods, and protocol-based component interactions.
Data-Intensive Computing on Windows HPC Server with the DryadLINQ FrameworkCome get an overview of the DryadLINQ features and runtime environment, and walk through some real-world examples of DryadLINQ programs based on the familiar declarative syntax of LINQ combined with the fault-tolerant distributed graph scheduling of the Dryad runtime. Hear how DryadLINQ provides a programming model and runtime for data-parallel programs running across large clusters and partitioned data sets.
Lighting up Windows Server 2008 R2 Using the ConcRT on UMSSee examples of how to use C++ and the new Concurrency Runtime (ConcRT) to take advantage of new technologies on Windows Server 2008 R2, such as the ability to scale beyond 64 cores and User-Mode Scheduling (UMS) of threads. Learn to write code that scales even in the face of complicated processor architectures, Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), and many-cores. Hear how ConcRT provides mechanisms that allow you to naturally express affinity requirements and schedule work on appropriate nodes without thrashing the system.
PLINQ: LINQ, but Faster!Multi-core processors are everywhere! Parallel Language Integrated Query (PLINQ) in the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 offers a minimal-code solution to take advantage of this parallel hardware, providing an implementation of the .NET Standard Query Operators that uses parallel execution techniques underneath the simple LINQ programming to make applications run faster! Come for a deep dive into PLINQ via Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. See what it looks like from the perspective of LINQ developers, the debugging and profiling support, how it’s implemented under the covers, and how to best incorporate it into your applications in order to reap the performance benefits of the manycore era.
F# for Parallel and Asynchronous ProgrammingConcurrency is increasingly important for many applications. The shift to manycore brings abundant parallelism to the desktop. The Web, Microsoft Silverlight, and distributed systems increase the demand for asynchronous solutions. F#, a functional and object-oriented language for Microsoft .NET, adds many tools to make parallel and asynchronous programming both fun and easy. Come hear the core concepts of the F# language, and see how ideas like immutability, functional design, async workflows, agents, and more can be used to meet the challenges of today’s real-world applications.
C++ Forever: Interactive Applications in the Age of ManycoreDeveloping concurrent applications is hard. Making them robust and responsive is even more challenging. The new asynchronous agents library and parallel debugging and profiling support in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 simplify the situation, enabling you to develop I/O- and computationally-intensive applications that offload work from the UI and that make good use of available resources. Come for a deep dive into the power of actor-based and dataflow programming in Microsoft Visual C++ 2010. Learn how it can help you to write correct, efficient, and scalable applications.
The State of Parallel ProgrammingParallel programming has been more difficult than it needs to be, perhaps because its tools have been treated as an “add-on” to serial programming. The objectives of composability and productivity demand something better. Come hear a relatively recent consensus view about what is needed for productive parallel programming, and why.
Manycore and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4: A Match Made in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010The Microsoft .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010 include new technologies for expressing, debugging, and tuning parallelism in managed applications. Dive into key areas of support, including the new System.Threading.Tasks and System.Collections.Concurrent namespaces, cutting-edge concurrency views in the Visual Studio profiler, and debugger tool windows for analyzing the state of concurrent code.
Patterns of Parallel Programming: A Tutorial on Fundamental Patterns and Practices for ParallelismThe transition from single-core to multi-core technology is altering computing as we know it, enabling increased productivity, powerful energy-efficient performance, and leading-edge advanced computing experiences. Multi-core and HPC technologies are rapidly moving into the computing mainstream, allowing us to develop applications with improved performance, increased responsiveness, and reduced latency. This workshop is aimed at experienced software developers who are relatively new to the parallel computing space but expect it to become more important to their work. The workshop helps software developers understand the fundamental challenges of parallel computing, that span from the client to the cluster, such as synchronization, shared state, and moving from multi-core to multi-server. Learn how established software patterns can help developers building on both Microsoft’s Parallel Computing Platform—consisting of Task Parallel Library, PLINQ and Coordination Data Structures for .NET development, and Parallel Patterns Library and Concurrency Runtime for C++—and the HPC platform. The presenters describe the patterns in a bigger context, share their experience, and demonstrate implementations of these patterns in examples and demos. Learn how to add these patterns and new technologies to your toolbox.

There are also several good and related sessions at TechEd Europe:

F# for Parallel and Asynchronous ProgrammingConcurrency is increasingly important for many applications. The shift to manycore brings abundant parallelism to the desktop. The Web, Microsoft Silverlight, and distributed systems increase the demand for asynchronous solutions. F#, a functional and object-oriented language for Microsoft .NET, adds many tools to make parallel and asynchronous programming both fun and easy. This talk quickly reviews the core concepts of the F# language, and shows how ideas like immutability, functional design, async workflows, agents and more can be used to meet the challenges of today’s real-world applications.
Parallel Computing for Managed DevelopersThe microprocessor industry has undergone a major paradigm shift from increasing clock speed with each successive hardware revision to increasing core count and potential for parallelism. This change requires software developers to think parallel in order to extract performance and provide a competitive user experience. This session discusses the new programming model and tools technologies in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0, including the Task Parallel Library (TPL), Parallel Language Integrated Query (PLINQ), and Concurrent Data Structures (CDS). Developers will also gain a deeper understanding of the advantages of building applications using these task-centric parallel technologies and will see demonstrations of several important patterns for parallelization.
Microsoft Visual C++ 2010: The “Fast” Way towards Modern Windows ApplicationsDo you love it when your application is the fastest on the block? Do you want to get the most of the Windows platform without re-writing your application and make it even faster in the process? Come and watch an action-packed demo and see how Visual Studio 2010 is a huge release for C++ developers! It’s huge because it’s focused on making it easier for ISVs who have many million lines of code. We have dramatically improved the scalability and productivity of the IDE and enabled MFC applications to seamlessly light up on Windows Vista and Windows 7. With the advent of highly parallel hardware, our adoption of the new C++ standard ushers in new ways to program scalable native applications.
Building High Performance Parallel SoftwareIn this session, attendees will learn how to parallelize their software to take advantage of the industry shift to multicore hardware architectures. Several key aspects of achieving performance through parallelization will be covered, including identifying opportunities for parallelism, high performance patterns and best practices for parallel coding, effectively employing the new Visual Studio 2010 programming models, and the use of the Visual Studio 2010 Profiler to identify bottlenecks and optimize applications. Examples will be shown in both managed and native code.

Both events should prove to be very exciting.  See you there.

Stephen Toub

Software Engineer, .NET

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