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The Art of Multiprocessor Programming 1st Edition

23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0123705914
ISBN-10: 0123705916
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About the Author

Maurice Herlihy received an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from M.I.T. He has served on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University, on the staff of DEC Cambridge Research Lab, and is currently a Professor in the Computer Science Department at Brown University. Maurice Herlihy is an ACM Fellow, and is the recipient of the 2003 Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing. He shared the 2004 Gödel Prize with Nir Shavit, the highest award in theoretical computer science. In 2012 he shared the Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize In Distributed Computing with Nir Shavit.

Nir Shavit received a B.A. and M.Sc. from the Technion and a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University, all in Computer Science. From 1999 to 2011 he served as a member of technical staff at Sun Labs and Oracle Labs. He shared the 2004 Gödel Prize with Maurice Herlihy, the highest award in theoretical computer science. He is a Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at M.I.T. and the Computer Science Department at Tel-Aviv University. In 2012 he shared the Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize In Distributed Computing with Maurice Herlihy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (March 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0123705916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123705914
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Justin E. Gottschlich on December 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Art of Multiprocessor Programming is an outstanding text that will soon become a classic. I give a chapter by chapter review of it below.

Practitioners that are already well versed in parallel programming can jump directly to Chapter 7, however, I would suggest at least skimming Chapters 2, 3 and 4. Even those programmers who understand shared memory and locking may be shocked at how relaxed memory models or compiler optimizations can reorder operations causing innocent looking code to break.

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Chapter 1 - Introduction

Why is this book called "The Art of Multiprocessor Programming" and not "The Art of Parallel Programming?" It is not by accident. There is a directed effort to explain parallel programming concepts as they relate to multi-core (or many-core) architectures. In particular, shared-memory multiprocessors have specific implementation details, such as cache coherence policies, that directly affect parallel software run on such architectures. The introduction gives a brief overview of the direction of the text: principles and practice.

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Part 1 - Principles

Chapter 2 - Mutual Exclusion

Mutual exclusion is a key concept to multi-threaded programming, and this chapter is rightly placed at the beginning of the text. This chapter presents some of the foundational concepts in parallel computing, such as, understanding time related to operation interleavings, pessimistic critical sections, forward progress, deadlocks and fairness. In addition, some of the classic algorithms are presented here, such as Lamport's Ticket Locking and Peterson's 2-Threaded Lock.
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78 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Vyacheslav Imameyev on May 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The content is perfect and deserves 5 stars and I agree with the 5 stars comments, but the code deserves the only 3 stars as there are a lot of flaws in it - the code even contradicts its description( both in the book and in the code downloaded from a site ). For example, at chapter 8.3.1 the Readers-Writers ( i.e. multiple-readers-multiple-writers as the name suggests ) implementation is actually a multiple-readers-single-writer as the WriteLock.lock() method doesn't protect from multiple writers( there is a mention about a single writer in the text but the paragraph name suggests multiple writers ). The code at 8.3.2 is just misleading and doesn't match the description - again the WriteLock.lock() is flawed - it frees the lock if readAcquires != readReleases thus allowing the ReadLock.lock() method to acquire the lock and increment the readAcquires counter which results in the writer starvation and lost of fairness( should be FIFO ) and again there is no protection from multiple writers but the "Readers-Writers lock" name suggests that it should be. And as the last blow the code in 8.3.2 suffers from the lost-wakeup problem described two pages before - the WriterLock.unlock() method doesn't wake up the readers waiting in condition.await(). But there is a rehabilitation for the authors - the description for the code doesn't contain the flaws mentioned above - it is absolutely correct! The Chapter 8 drove me mad by its discrepancy between the text and the code!
So, I got suspicious about the code in the book but not about the description.
I rated the book 4 stars as the content and description( including pictures )is brilliant but the code is sometimes wrong and misleading ( I think it was copy-pasted from the old authors's works ), if the code had not contained such bizarre flaws I would have rated 5 stars as the content is really perfect and shows the authors expertise in the field.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Spork on May 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives programmers the practical and theoretical tools they need to adapt to the proliferation of multi-core machines. It opens with six chapters on theoretical subjects. These chapters are fascinating in their own right as well as directly applicable to my daily work. I thought the most important subjects were wait-free synchronization (every method completes in a finite number of steps), lock-free synchronization (some method completes in a finite number of steps), and some computability proofs. The authors use computability to demonstrate the equivalence of several types of synchronization primitives. They also present some impossibility proofs that show you how to avoid trying to solve unsolvable problems. The computability results and synchronization guarantees combine to give you the tools to determine whether one concurrent algorithm is "better" than another.

The remainder of the book is devoted to practical subjects. These chapters cover locks, a variety of data structures, work scheduling, and some miscellaneous topics. Java's java.util.concurrent package provides production-quality implementations of most of these data structures. The authors know this, and they use the data structures chapters to demonstrate generally applicable techniques while avoiding unnecessary implementation details. The work scheduling chapter is a sobering reminder of the difficulty inherent in fully exploiting highly parallel architectures. The authors show how to use recurrences to analyze the relative speedup an algorithm gains by running on P processors instead of a single processor. Combining this with the discussion of Ahmdal's Law earlier in the book we see that the essential math behind parallelism severely penalizes you for seemingly small sequential portions of your code.
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