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Communication in a broadcast protocol multiprocessor (BPM) is inherently different from that in distributed systems formed by explicit links between processors. A message broadcast by a processor in a BPM is received directly by all other processors in the network instead of being restricted to only one processor. Broadcasting is an inexpensive way of communicating with a large number of processors on a BPM. In this paper I will describe a new approach to user-level distributed programming called broadcast programming, i.e., distributed programs written as cooperating broadcasting sequential processes (BSP). Existing concurrent programming languages do not provide facilities to exploit the broadcast capability of a BPM. The idea of distributed programs written as BSP is tailored to exploiting a BPM architecture but is not restricted to such an architecture-however, implementation of the broadcast capability may not be as efficient on other architectures. I will illustrate the utility and convenience of broadcast programming with many examples. These examples will also be used to explore the suitability and advantages of BSP and to determine appropriate facilities for BSP.
Date of Publication: July 1984