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Researchers Simplify Parallel Programming

Argonne National Laboratory technicians

Technicians at Argonne National Laboratory work on MIRA, the fifth-fastest supercomputer in the world (as of July 2014).

Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

Using statistical models, computer scientists have shown that certain kinds of parallel computation are not as difficult as previously thought. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Microsoft Research, and the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) showed that for a large class of non-blocking parallel programs, lock-free algorithms will perform fully as well as the more complex wait-free algorithms.

"What we have shown is that you really don't need to design these wait-free algorithms," said Nir Shavit, a computer science professor at MIT. "Most methods that are lock-free are also wait-free."


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