Designing for Parallelism and Future Multi-core Computing

Unit code: COMP60621
Credit Rating: 15
Unit level: Level 6
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by School of Computer Science
Available as a free choice unit?: Y




The unit aims to study the technological issues which will determine both the future hardware architecture and the programming techniques which will be necessary to extract performance from multi-core processors. It will examine the limitations of current approaches and study in detail those areas of research which are most likely to provide solutions.

Learning and Teaching Processes

Introductory material will be provided by a small number of traditional lectures. The majority of the research material will be covered by directed reading followed by small group presentation and discussion. Practical work will take the form of small group projects where a student will be expected to investigate a particular topic in depth by experiment.


Dual-core and Quad-core processors are now becoming commonplace as circuit limits are reached which prevent further performance gains from simple clock-speed increases. Major industrial projections expect processors with hundreds of cores within a few years. But, current hardware architectural approaches are not applicable to the scale of these future processors. In addition, programming techniques, required to write general purpose parallel programs to make effective use of these systems, are regarded as inadequate. These are therefore very active research areas and there are a number of different but inter-related directions being explored. The purpose of this course unit is to study that research by a combination of directed reading and practical experimentation with state-of-the art multi-core hardware, simulators of research systems and novel language implementations.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP60621 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Group/team working
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Leadership
  • Oral communication
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Written communication

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 50%
  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 50%

Recommended reading

COMP60621 reading list can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.

Feedback methods

Informal feedback during the course, plus one-to-one dedicated time to provide feedback on the lab exercises and how to improve answers for the exam

Study hours

  • Lectures - 35 hours
  • Independent study hours - 58 hours

Teaching staff

Miguel Lujan Moreno - Unit coordinator

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