by Kevin Goldsmith


May 17, 2011

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be speaking with Paul Steinberg of Intel and Tom Murphy of Contra Costa college about the criticality of understanding parallel programming techniques for industry.

In my previous role on the Adobe Image Foundation, it was an obvious requirement for our hiring candidates. We were building tools for a insanely parallel problem, image and video processing. Now that I’m working on a new product, it would maybe seem that it would not be as important. In fact, our threading models are even more complicated than in my previous group. My expectations around threading knowledge for incoming candidates are just as high.

Even the most modest mobile hardware is going (or has gone) parallel. In addition, the expectations from a user perspective around interactivity with their applications is never higher. A laggy touch interface is death to an application (or a platform). Going to get coffee while your image renders on a desktop is a thing of the past. User’s expectations of the software we write is higher than ever and it is nearly impossible to get this interactivity without taking advantage of multi-threading on today’s multi-core processors.

The tools continue to improve, but the threading models continue to evolve. A fundamental understanding of multi-threading is critical for anyone moving into Software Engineering or looking to stay current in their field.

I always enjoy talking with Paul and Tom, and expect that we’ll have a lively conversation.

Tune in live on May 17, 10:00 AM PDT

Here is Paul’s post on the subject.


  • By Tom Murphy - 6:14 PM on May 17, 2011  

    It was a great interview, Kevin. Thanks.

    I appreciate the focus on practical skills. In my CS career before teaching, I constantly used both Data Structures and Computer Architecture to inform my design choices, particularly when performance was a key factor. We seem to have a very similar cut on it.

    • By Kevin Goldsmith - 6:17 PM on May 17, 2011  

      Appreciate it Tom,

      it was a lot of fun, thanks for having me. We definitely agree on Data Structures. I don’t see it as quite as big an issue in my experience because it is still a fundamental part of the CS curriculum, at least amongst the students I talk to…