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Stephen Blair-chappell

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Going Parallel: Part 1: Doing two things at once - impossible!

February 19, 2009

Maybe it's just me, but I have to confess I'm no good at doing more than one thing at once. For example, I'm at the breakfast table reading the paper and eating, suddenly my wife comments "did you hear that? ...". Usually I haven't. My typical reply is "no - I was reading the paper".I belong to that part of humanity that cannot multitask. I sometimes muse on stories of how an aunt of mine could read a book, watch the TV and do her knitting all at the same time. If only our software was like my aunt! If only I was like my aunt I hear my wife saying!

There is nothing wrong with doing one task and doing it well, and there is plenty of software out there that does exactly that. There are also, however, many opportunities for making software faster by going parallel.

The challenge for developers is how to start thinking parallel. In the next few blogs I plan to go through a few anecdotal stories along with some practical steps of how one can leap into the parallel paradigm.

Watch this space ... even if it means you miss that item on the radio.

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