CS380P Parallel Systems Fall 2024

Course Details

Course Name: CS380P -- Parallel Systems Fall 2024
Unique Number: UTAustinX: CSMS.SYS.314
Lectures: online
Class Web Page: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/rossbach/cs380p
Instructors: Chris Rossbach and Calvin Lin
TAs: tbd
Text: Principles of Parallel Programming (ISBN-10: 0321487907)

Course Objectives

In modern systems, concurrency and parallelism are no longer niche areas reserved for specialists and experts, but a cross-cutting concern to which all designers and developers are exposed. The increasing prevalence of parallelism has been accompanied by a proliferation of new technologies and programming models that each address long-standing challenges of programmability and performance in the presence of parallelism in unique ways.

The objective of this course is to provide students with strong background on parallel systems fundamentals along with experience with a diversity of both classical and modern approaches to managing and exploiting concurrency, including shared memory synchronization, parallel architectures such as GPUs, as well as distributed parallel frameworks such as MPI and map-reduce. Material will be presented through readings and discussion of background material as well as occasional recent research papers when appropriate. The course requires a number of programming and project assignments to provide direct experience with design, programming, and measurement methodologies for concurrent systems.

The course assumes background commensurate with that provided by an undergraduate course on operating systems such as UT's CS 439. The course will consider the following topics:

Teaching Assistants

TBD online Mondays, Wednesdays 5:30pm-6:30pm Central Time
TBD online Thursday 8-10pm Central Time


Chris Rossbach by appointment, Zoom
Calvin Lin by appointment, Zoom

Course Materials

Readings. Readings for the course will be drawn from the textbook Principles of Parallel Programming by our own Calvin Lin and his collaborator Lawrence Snyder. The book should be available at the UT campus bookstore and online. It is expensive. Good education is priceless, but if cost is truly an issue for you, please discuss with us rather than avoid taking the class. You should also find the book is available in digital format for a reduced cost through Canvas on the first day of classes under the "My Textbooks" link in Canvas. We will also read journal, conference, and other papers that describe the history and state of the art for various aspects of concurrency, and materials will be provided online for this purpose.

The preliminary list of readings and schedule is available here. You should do the readings before class.

Online resources. We have created "CS 380P: Parallel Systems" in Ed Discussion (which you should find linked from Canvas and EdX too) for this course here. We will use it mostly for announcements and as a discussion forum, but feel free to provide feedback, and suggestions. Similarly, feel free to use email for questions and discussion.

Programming Assignments

The course requires several programming assignments that will give you experience working with a number of different concurrency paradigms and programming models, and will also expose you to methodological issues such as how to model, measure, report, and understand performance.

The goal of the assignments is to demystify concurrency and convince you that concurrency is a powerful tool at your disposal. Sometimes puzzling behavior can be understood and worked around by reading and understanding the documentation or source code of a framework or runtime.

While most of the assignments will use Linux and can be completed on UTCS public machines and/or EdX-linked infrastructure (Codio), not all of the labs have a platform/OS dependency, and some may require hardware (GPUs) that is only available on a small set of machines. We are open to you using your own hardware and software stack of preference when the objectives can easily be achieved with a different platform or software stack. Please approach us about this before investing lots of development effort though, as we will want to be sure we can still evaluate your work properly before you spend a lot of time on a different platform.


Your final grade for the course will be based entirely on the five programming assignments, 20% per assignment.

We reiterate that the UTCS Online master's program has the following Program Grade Requirements:

Course Policies


Intellectual dishonesty can end your career, and it is your responsibility to stay on the right side of the line. If you are not sure about something, ask.

Note that while use of code repositories such as github and bitbucket to version control your code for labs and projects is encouraged, it is absolutely critical that you keep your repositories private. Looking at other solutions and/or maintaining your solutions as publically visible repositories are both considered cheating and can result in your being assigned an F for the course. Please follow these rules scrupulously and carefully, as we do check.


This offering of cs380p will have no exams.

Late Policy

Academic Integrity in This Online Course

The online course format allows for multiple methods of identity verification, collusion, collaboration and plagiarism monitoring and detection. A violation of the course policy may include (but is not limited to) the following:

The University of Texas at Austin Academic Integrity principles call for students to avoid engaging in any form of academic dishonesty on behalf of yourself or another student. Grade-related penalties are routinely assessed ("F" in the course is not uncommon), but students can also be suspended or even permanently expelled from the University for scholastic dishonesty. If you have any questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty, please refer to the Dean of Students website or contact the instructor for this course.

You must agree to abide by the Honor Code of the University of Texas. You will not work with or collaborate with others in any way while completing any of the graded course assignments.


The University of Texas at Austin guarantees that students with disabilities have access to appropriate accommodations. You may request an accommodation letter from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities [https://diversity.utexas.edu/disability/].

If you have approved accommodations for the course, please contact us to arrange them. Please do this as soon as possible, so that you can have the benefit of the accommodations throughout the duration of the course.

Course Etiquette

We expect that you will treat online discussions as though you are having a civil, respectful discussion with your fellow classmates in the same classroom. Please refrain from using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity. Please do not bait other commenters or personally attack them. Please do not use sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively. And please do not make the same point over and over again. In short, please just respect the right of your colleagues to ask questions and discuss their opinions about the subject matter of our course on the discussion board. Violators of these discussion rules will simply be shut out from all class communications--email, Ed Discussion, and office hours.

Office Hours

Professors will hold virtual office hours through Zoom by appointment only. TAs will hold virtual office hours as well according to the schedule above.

Provisional Technical Requirements

Last updated: 2024-07-15 20:47:36 -0500 [validate xhtml]