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Communications of the ACM

Letters to the editor

A Division in Computer Science

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The January 2022 Editor-in-Chief's column "Is the Global Computing Community Irrevocably Divided?" raises an important question. From a computing perspective, it is difficult to attempt a complete answer, let alone a solution, as the column is also related to political science; more precisely, its subfield of international relations.

However, there is a division in the computing literature, which is not irrevocable. Speedup laws and models for parallel and distributed computing are merely ignored by theoretical publications, but widely relied on by engineering publications. For example, in a highly influential paper, cited by more than 1,700, Hill and Marty1 rely on Amdahl's Law to propose asymmetric (heterogeneous) chip multi-processor architectures. Amdahl's Law, imposing a constant upper limit on speedup by infinitely many processors, was stated in 1969.


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