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In this paper we propose to show how signal processing algorithm designers can understand the nuances of multicore computing engines in order to conveniently exploit these powerful devices. This is illustrated by presenting source and channel coding, two fundamental operations in multimedia signal processing. We describe methods and principles to develop parallel signal processing algorithms to compute motion estimation for advanced video coding, and low-density parity-check code decoding for forward error correction in the channel coding context. The paper will consider general purpose multi-core architectures and accelerators such as the Cell/B.E. and graphics processing units. Experimental evaluation of the multi-core systems allows their performance for signal processing applications to be compared side by side with previous hardware dedicated solutions.