605.616.81 - Multiprocessor Architecture & Programming

Computer Science
Spring 2024


This course addresses how to utilize the increasing hardware capabilities of multiprocessor computer architecture’s highperformance computing platforms for software development. The famous Moore’s Law is still alive, although it is now realized from increasing the number of CPU cores instead of increasing CPU clock speed. This course describes the differences between single-core and multi-core systems and addresses the impact of these differences in multiprocessor computer architectures and operating systems. Parallel programming techniques to increase program performance by leveraging the multiprocessor system, including multi-core architectures, will be introduced. Additional topics include program performance analysis and tuning, task parallelism, synchronization strategies, shared memory access and data structures, and task partition techniques. The course encourages hands-on experience with projects selected by the student.


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into 14 modules which can be accessed by clicking Course Modules on the left menu. A module will have several sections including the module-at-a-glance, readings, video lectures and related content, discussions, and quizzes. Students should check the Calendar and Announcements regularly for assignment due dates. Modules begin on Mondays and complete on Sundays.

Course Goals

Parallel programing becomes an essential skill for software developers. In this course, students will be able to understand the parallel computing architecture with multicore and to master how to program in this type of platforms. Theories and programming techniques over various multicore platforms will be introduced. These platforms cover different types of multicore computer systems, including GPU-based architectures. The course teaches the parallel processing theories for parallel programming. Applications of these theories cover many areas including big data analytics, cloud computing, cyber securities, artificial intelligence/machine learning processing, and more. Students will master the latest parallel processing theories and techniques for software design, development, and testing with high performance in a multicore environment. Students will have opportunities to implement a course project by using the techniques they will learn and selecting the hardware platform of their own.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Herlihy, M. & Nir Shavit, N. (2012). The Art of Multiprocessor Programming, Revised Reprint. Morgan Kaufman Publishing. ISBN 978-0-12-397337-5

Required Software

Webcam, microphone (if provided with computer, this is usually adequate along with adequate lighting and no background sound interference). Microsoft Office or equivalent software tool required. Software capable of drawing diagrams is required.

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each module will take approximately 10-12 hours per week to complete. Here is an approximate breakdown: reading the assigned sections of the textbook (approximately 4 hours per week), listening to the audio annotated slide presentations (approximately 2 hour per week) as well as the Lightboard Studio demonstrations (approximately 1 hour per week), and working through the homework assignments (approximately 4-5 hours per week).

This course will consist of four basic student requirements:

  1. Discussion board assignments (10% of final grade)

Weekly discussion board assignments require you to think about real-world applications for the network design concepts you will be learning. You are required to respond to each discussion prompt as well as respond to at least two other students’ post.

  1. Assignments (Three Total) (25% of final grade)

This course has three “homework” assignments, found in modules 3, 5, 10. The assignments are problems that you must complete individually and upload your work to Blackboard. You will have at least two weeks to complete each assignment. Assignment 1 and 2 are worth 8% of your final grade each, and Assignment 3 is worth 9% of your final grade. Assignments need to be uploaded in PDF format.

  1. Midterm Exam (25% of final grade)

The midterm exam is in module 8. You have the entire week to complete the exam. It is an open book exam – to be completed independently. Your exam must be uploaded by the due date as a PDF. Late submissions will be penalized 10% per day.

  1. Term Project (40% of final grade)

The course project is an individual project requiring students to design and develop a software that uses parallel computation. The project should involve with parallel programming techniques that students have learned in the class. Students should communicate their project topics with the course instructor starting in Module 4. The project assignment will be given in Module 7. A project plan is due in Module 9. A final video presentation is due by the end of Module 13. Project final report is due by the end of Module 14.

Grading Policy

Assignments are due according to the dates posted in the Blackboard course site. Students may check these due dates in the Course Calendar or the Assignments in the corresponding modules. Grades will post no later than one week after assignment due dates. A grade of A indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion in every week. A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work. These criteria apply to both undergraduates and graduate students taking the course.

The following grades are used for this course: A+, A, A– (excellent), B+, B, B– (good), C (unsatisfactory), F (failure), I (incomplete). A grade of F indicates the student’s failure to complete or comprehend the course work.

A course for which an unsatisfactory grade (C or F) has been received may be retaken. The original grade is replaced with an R. If the failed course includes laboratory, both the lecture and laboratory work must be retaken unless the instructor indicates otherwise. A grade of W is issued to those who have dropped the course after the refund period but before the drop deadline. The transcript is part of the student’s permanent record at the university. No grade may be changed except to correct an error, to replace an incomplete with a grade, or to replace a grade with an R.

The Whiting School assumes that students possess acceptable written command of the English language. It is proper for faculty to consider writing quality when assigning grades.

For incomplete grades, please see the Graduate Programs catalogue for the Whiting School of Engineering.

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-98= A+
97-94= A
93-90= A−
89-87= B+
86-83= B
82-80= B−
79-77= C+
76-73= C
72-70= C−
69-67= D+
66-63= D
<63= F

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.