19 September 1997 Contract-Linda: a paradigm for programming heterogeneous parallel systems
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Abstract
Contract-Linda is a novel programming architecture for heterogeneous parallel machines particularly suited to image processing. Previous research has concentrated on static and pre-determined scheduling of computation and on fine grain parallelism. Predetermined scheduling is satisfactory in cases where the computational process is fully deterministic. However with many image interpretation schemes the flow of control and the nature of the computational procedures can only be determined at run-time. In this paper we describe a programming paradigm for coarse grain and task level parallelism. Task management is based on the contract net protocol and utilizes the Linda Coordination Language to provide run-time scheduling. This paradigm accommodates a closely coupled network of heterogeneous processing modules which differ greatly in computational capability; modules based on neural networks, semantic networks, vector and scalar processors are accommodated. Contract-Linda allows specialized heterogeneous machines to be exploited using a straightforward generic programming model. It does this by providing an internal task management mechanism which ensures that the heterogenous processing elements are used by the tasks most suited to them and exploits dynamic parallelism within the problem as it is solved. By separating the task of describing the problem from that of describing how the work is carried out on the machine (and providing a solution for this problem) we allow applications to be quickly developed which can effectively utilize specialized machines without the need for specialized programming.
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David Pycock, Robert O. Jackson, "Contract-Linda: a paradigm for programming heterogeneous parallel systems", Proc. SPIE 3166, Parallel and Distributed Methods for Image Processing, (19 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.279616; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.279616
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