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ASSIST: an Environment for Parallel and Distributed Portable Applications

Vanneschi, Marco (2002) ASSIST: an Environment for Parallel and Distributed Portable Applications. Technical Report del Dipartimento di Informatica . Università di Pisa, Pisa, IT.

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    ASSIST (A Software development System based upon Integrated Skeleton Technology) is a proposal of a new programming environment oriented to the development of parallel and distributed high-performance applications according to a unified approach. The main goals are: high-level programmability and software productivity for complex multidisciplinary applications, including data-intensive and interactive software; performance portability across different platforms, including homogenous parallel machines and cluster/Beowulf systems, heterogeneous clusters and network computers, and computational Grids; effective reuse of parallel software; efficient evolution of applications through versions scalable according to the underlying technologies. The proposal is based on the evolution and joining of the software component technology and of the structured parallel programming technology. Component technology must be extended in the direction of parallel and distributed high-performance applications for emerging large-scale heterogeneous platforms, including Grids. According to our experience in structured parallel programming, in ASSIST we intend to overcome some limitations of the classical skeletons approach to improve generality and flexibility, expressive power and efficiency for irregular, dynamic and interactive applications, as well as for complex combinations of task and data parallelism. A new paradigm, called ?parallel module? (parmod), is defined which, in addition to expressing the semantics of several skeletons as particular cases, is able to express more general parallel and distributed program structures. ASSIST allows the programmer to design the applications in the form of generic graphs of parallel components, including both data-flow and nondeterministic reactive computation. Another distinguishing feature is that ASSIST modules are able to utilize external objects, including shared data structures and abstract objects (e.g. CORBA), with standard interfacing mechanisms. In turn, an ASSIST application can be reused and exported as a component for other applications, possibly expressed in different formalisms. A substantial part of our research project is devoted to the architecture and implementation of the support to the new environment. The purpose of this paper is to show the principles of the proposed approach in terms of the programming model (successive papers will deal with the environment implementation and with performance evaluation). Initially the motivations and the rationales for the proposal are discussed in the context of software component technology, large-scale platforms and structured parallel programming. Then the features and the characteristics of the ASSIST programming model are described according to an operational semantics style and using several examples to drive the presentation, to show the expressive power and to discuss the research issues.

    Item Type: Book
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Keywords: Parallel and distributed programming environments; Structured parallel programming; Skeletons model; Shared Objects; Large-scale platforms, Software component technology.
    Subjects: Area01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > INF/01 - Informatica
    Divisions: Dipartimenti (until 2012) > DIPARTIMENTO DI INFORMATICA
    Depositing User: dott.ssa Sandra Faita
    Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2014 16:30
    Last Modified: 22 Dec 2014 14:11
    URI: http://eprints.adm.unipi.it/id/eprint/2078

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