CP431,CP631 Parallel Programming, WINTER 2021, WLU

Course Description

Parallel computers, or supercomputers or high-performance clusters are ubiquitous today in Science and Engineering. Parallel programming requires inventing new algorithms and programming techniques. This course will cover the fundamental paradigms of parallel programming, with an emphasis on problem solving and actual applications. The parallel programming concepts and algorithms will be illustrated via implementations in OpenMP and MPI (Message Passing Interface), as well as serial farming.

Important Course Information


CP367 (proficiency in C)


Dr. Ilias S. Kotsireas,  Office 2076A, E-Mail: ikotsireATwlu.ca

Office Hours

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that Laurier has decided that Winter 2021 courses will be held on-line, all office hours for this course will also be conducted on-line, here are the two options:
  1. 24/7: send me an invite on Skype (ID: ilias_kotsireas) and ping me at any time outside class hours, from 9:00 a.m. EST to 5:00 p.m. EST (no prior appointment is required)
  2. specific time slot: e-mail me to book an individual appointment on skype/zoom.

For authentication/security purposes, please include your Laurier Student ID, and your first and last name, in all communcations regarding the course.

Course Topics

  1. Historical overview and evolution of parallel computing
  2. Fundamental concepts of parallelism
  3. Parallel computer memory architectures: shared memory, distributed memory, hybrid distributed-shared memory
  4. Parallel computer system architectures: Multi-Core, SMP, Clusters, Supercomputers, Flynn's Taxonomy
  5. Performance, Speedup, Scalability, Amdahl's law, Gustafson-Barsis's law, Karp-Flatt metric, Isoefficiency relation
  6. Load balancing: static, dynamic, termination detection
  7. Abstractions for parallel programming: Data Parallelism, Task Parallelism, Reduce and Scan, work assignment, Pipelining
  8. Programming paradigms for parallel computing: OpenMP, MPI, MapReduce/Google, Cilk, Cilk++, CUDA/GPU, Implicit Parallelism (Serial Farming)
  9. Applications: parallel sorting, parallel matrix-vector multiplication, parallel matrix multiplication, parallel searching, Floyd's algorithm, Sieve of Eratosthenes, Circuit Satisfiability

Class Schedule, Winter Semester Timetable

              |     Mon     |     Wed     |
              | 16:00-17:20 | 16:00-17:20 |
              |  (on-line)  |  (on-line)  |
              |             |             |
Week 1:       |  Jan 11     |  Jan 13     |
Week 2:       |  Jan 18     |  Jan 20     |
Week 3:       |  Jan 25     |  Jan 27     |
Week 4:       |  Feb 01     |  Feb 03     |
Week 5:       |  Feb 08     |  Feb 10     |
Reading Week  | Feb 16-19  N o  C o u r s e s

Week 6:       |  Feb 22     |  Feb 24 (M) |
Week 7:       |  Mar 01     |  Mar 03     |
Week 8:       |  Mar 08     |  Mar 10     |
Week 9:       |  Mar 15     |  Mar 17     |
Week 10:      |  Mar 22     |  Mar 24     |
Week 11:      |  Mar 29     |  Mar 31     |
Week 12:      | Apr 05 (TP) | Apr 07 (TP) |
              |             |             |

Course Requirements/Student Evaluation

Term Project Demonstrations Schedule

(You are strongly advised to test your presentation materials and/or test your laptop/desktop on zoom beforehand, to avoid unexpected delays, arising due to technical difficulties, during your presentations)

Group IDs, for A1, A2, TP, listed in a FIPPA-compliant manner, i.e. anonymized

FIPPA == Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Term Project Presentations Schedule: Monday April 05 2021 

Group 1: SS MP JG BP Colin 

Group 2: BG AS MS CK RM 

Group 3: RG PM MW AT SV 

Group 4: ZM HG BS CR YL

Group 5: KG AD ASB GS TA

Term Project Presentations Schedule: Wednesday April 07 2021

Group 6: SN MD YW RJ SB

Research resources

  1. International Journal of Parallel Programming (Springer)
  2. Parallel Computing Systems & Applications (Elsevier)
  3. Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing (Elsevier)
  4. Encyclopedia of Parallel Computing

University and Course Policies (senate approved)

  1. Special Needs: Students with disabilities or special needs are advised to contact Laurier’s Accessible Learning Centre for information regarding its services and resources. Students are encouraged to review the Academic Calendar for information regarding all services available on campus.
  2. Plagiarism: Wilfrid Laurier University uses software that can check for plagiarism. If requested to do so by the instructor, students are required to submit their written work in electronic form and have it checked for plagiarism.
  3. Academic Integrity: Laurier is committed to a culture of integrity within and beyond the classroom. This culture values trustworthiness (i.e., honesty, integrity, reliability), fairness, caring, respect, responsibility and citizenship. Together, we have a shared responsibility to uphold this culture in our academic and nonacademic behaviour. The University has a defined policy with respect to academic misconduct. As a Laurier student you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with this policy and the accompanying penalty guidelines, some of which may appear on your transcript if there is a finding of misconduct. The relevant policy can be found at Laurier's academic integrity website along with resources to educate and support you in upholding a culture of integrity. Ignorance is not a defense.
  4. Classroom Use of Electronic Devices: Read WLU policy 9.3 Classroom Use of Electronic Devices.
  5. Late Assignment Policy: late assignments will be marked with 0.
  6. Final Examinations: Students are strongly urged not to make any commitments (i.e., vacation) during the examination period. Students are required to be available for examinations during the examination periods of all terms in which they register. Refer to the Handbook on Undergraduate Course Management for more information.
  7. Foot Patrol, the Wellness Centre, Student Food Bank.