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Parallelism appears throughout the history of computing, yet many programmers have been caught off-guard by the proliferation of multicore systems. Luckily, Perl and Unix provide lots of tools for leveraging multicore or multinode environments. Let’s quit spoon-feeding the computer one byte at a time and get out our fork()s.
Appetizer: The basic models and concepts of parallelization via a brief history of parallel computing followed by a few fun facts about spaceships, Unix, and Ahmdal’s law.
Main course: Armed with these fundamentals, we’ll then study a few compact examples of turning sequential problems into parallel ones. We’ll find ways to bend or break the rules and see how parallelism changes some of the old assumptions.
Dessert: A quick tour through an open source parallel log processing system that demonstrates these techniques in a real-life production program.
Eric Wilhelm is a software and systems consultant, leader of the Portland Perl Mongers, and author of many CPAN modules. Eric is very involved in the open source community and is a contributor to several open source projects including Test::Harness, Module::Build, parrot, PAR, Jifty, and Moose.