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Teaching by Example: Using Analogies and Live Coding Demonstrations to Teach Parallel Computing Concepts to Undergraduate Students

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1 Author(s)
Nasser Giacaman ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

This paper details recent experience in teaching parallel computing concepts to undergraduate Computer Science students. By taking a practical approach in delivering the material, students are shown to have grasped essential multi-threading concepts in Java, ensuring they are able to implement the necessary skills themselves. The motivation for parallel computing is clearly demonstrated early in the course, to immediately convince students of the importance in developing their parallel computing skills, should they wish to be effective software developers. Within only 4 weeks, students are able to correctly and efficiently multi-thread a sequential desktop application (with a Graphical User Interface) that is both responsive (does not freeze the user interface) and perform ant (utilises the underlying multi-core processor). The student evaluations confirm that using live coding demonstrations and analogies were most helpful in learning parallel computing.

Published in:

Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium Workshops & PhD Forum (IPDPSW), 2012 IEEE 26th International

Date of Conference:

21-25 May 2012