Description: Description: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Text Box: Computer Science

Text Box: ParaSail: Less is More with Multicore


S. Tucker Taft

Director of Language Research at AdaCore






Friday, February 22, 2013

11:00 AM 12:00 PM

Fuller Labs 320





Most programming languages were designed without parallel programming in mind. Attempts to add on parallel programming features, or parallel libraries, are doomed to a struggle against the impediments built into the original languages. These impediments include a heavy reliance on pointers, unrestricted use of global variables, a global garbage-collected heap, parameter aliasing, run-time exception handling, explicit threads, locking, and signaling, with the potential for unintentional race-conditions.


ParaSail (Parallel Specification and Implementation Language) is a new parallel programming language with a familiar class-and-interface-based object-oriented programming model, but designed specifically to eliminate impediments to easy parallel programming. In ParaSail, it is easier to write parallel algorithms than sequential ones. Pointers are eliminated in favor of expandable and shrinkable objects. Race conditions are eliminated at compile-time, as are other possible run-time errors such as use of null values or uninitialized data, indexing outside of an array, numeric overflow, dangling references, etc. The net effect is a language that feels familiar, is a pleasure to program in, but nevertheless results in highly parallel, race-condition-free, well-structured programs.



S.Tucker Taft is VP and Director of Language Research at AdaCore.

From 2002 to 2011 Tucker was head of SofCheck, a company focused on automated software error detection. From 1980-2002, Tucker was at Intermetrics, focusing on programming language design, compiler design and implementation, and web-based collaboration tools.

From 1995-2000 Tucker led the team designing the revision to Ada known as Ada 95, the first internationally standardized object-oriented programming language. Tucker lives in Lexington, MA with his wife Phyllis. They have two grown daughters, one now working toward a Ph.D. in Computer Science at MIT, the other headed to med school. Tucker has been working on the design and implementation of ParaSail since September 2009.


Host: Prof. Craig Wills


Refreshments will be served


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