All computing systems, from mobile to supercomputers, are becoming heterogeneous, massively parallel computers for higher power efficiency and computation throughput. While the computing community is racing to build tools and libraries to ease the use of these systems, effective and confident use of these systems will always require knowledge about low-level programming in these systems. This course is designed for students to learn the essence of low-level programming interfaces and how to use these interfaces to achieve application goals. CUDA C, with its good balance between user control and verboseness, will serve as the teaching vehicle for the first half of the course. Students will then extend their learning into closely related programming interfaces such as OpenCL, OpenACC, and C++AMP.
The course is unique in that it is application oriented and only introduces the necessary underlying computer science and computer engineering knowledge for understanding. It covers the concept of data parallel execution models, memory models for managing locality, tiling techniques for reducing bandwidth consumption, parallel algorithm patterns, overlapping computation with communication, and a variety of heterogeneous parallel programming interfaces. The concepts learned in this course form a strong foundation for learning other types of parallel programming systems.