SC19 Proceedings

The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis

A Gentle Introduction to Heterogeneous Computing for CS1 Students

Workshop: A Gentle Introduction to Heterogeneous Computing for CS1 Students

Abstract: Heterogeneous architectures have emerged as a dominant platform, not only in high performance computing but also in mobile processing, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoTs). Because the curriculum is over-crowded in its current state, it is difficult to include a new course as a required part of the curriculum without increasing the number of hours to graduation. Integration of heterogeneous computing content requires a module-based approach, such as those undertaken for introducing parallel and distributed computing

In this paper, we present a teaching module that introduces CS1 students to some of the fundamental concepts in heterogeneous computing. The goal of this module is not teach students how to program heterogeneous systems but rather expose them to this emerging trend and prepare them for material they are expected to see in future classes. Although concepts are covered at a high-level, the module emphasizes active learning and includes a lab assignment that provides students hands-on experience with respect to task mapping and performance evaluation of a heterogeneous system. The module was implemented at our home institution in Fall 2018. Initial evaluation results are quite encouraging both in terms of learning outcomes and student engagement and interest.

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