PPP: Parallel Programming with Pictures
Authors: Annette C. Feng (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Wu Feng (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Eli Tilevich (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Abstract: Multicore computers are becoming the norm in our ubiquitous computing systems, and the need for programmers who can write codes for these systems and realize requisite, measurable performance gains continues to rise. However, programmers spend many years learning their craft using sequential languages before ever being introduced to parallel programming. By then, it is difficult for many programmers to "think in parallel." Parallel programming constructs ought to be as fundamental as if-then-else statements and should be taught from the outset rather than being delayed until a senior-year systems course in college. Thus, we introduce explicitly parallel programming constructs to a (sequential) block-based language called Snap!, which was derived from Scratch at MIT, and show that this approach can be a successful way to introduce parallel programming to K-12 students, college students, and even professionals desiring re-training.
Two-page extended abstract: pdf