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Parallel Processing

Parallel computing is a type of computation in which many calculations or the execution of processes are carried out concurrently. Large problems can often be divided into smaller ones, which can then be solved at the same time. There are several different forms of parallel computing: bit-levelinstruction-leveldata, and task parallelism. Parallelism has long been employed in high-performance computing, but it's gaining broader interest due to the physical constraints preventing frequency scaling. As power consumption (and consequently heat generation) by computers has become a concern in recent years, parallel computing has become the dominant paradigm in computer architecture, mainly in the form of multi-core processors.

Parallel computing is closely related to concurrent computing—they are frequently used together, and often conflated, though the two are distinct: it is possible to have parallelism without concurrency (such as bit-level parallelism), and concurrency without parallelism (such as multitasking by time-sharing on a single-core CPU). In parallel computing, a computational task is typically broken down into several, often many, very similar sub-tasks that can be processed independently and whose results are combined afterwards, upon completion. In contrast, in concurrent computing, the various processes often do not address related tasks; when they do, as is typical in distributed computing, the separate tasks may have a varied nature and often require some inter-process communication during execution.

 

Parallel Computing Explained - Prof Sadjadi -  School of Computing and Information Sciences - FIU

 

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