6.189 | January IAP 2007 | Undergraduate

Multicore Programming Primer


Students are expected to participate in small project teams to complete a course-long project. The project should impact domains that include gaming engines, media applications, algorithms for molecular dynamics, and protein folding challenge problems. Each team will have access to a PLAYSTATION®3 console, programming and debugging tools, tutorials, and hands-on help. Each project team will present and demonstrate their work at the end of the course as part of a project competition. Projects are evaluated using the criteria shown below.


Each presentation is limited to 15 minutes and should include the following:

  • An overview of the project goals
  • Relevant technical details for the algorithms you use
  • How you determined which parts of the algorithms to parallelize and accelerate with the SPEs
  • Your methodology for parallelizing the algorithms
  • The performance metrics you used for the evaluation
  • An evaluation of your parallelized implementation
  • A live demonstration of your application running on the PLAYSTATION 3


Project evaluations are based on the following criteria:


We will empirically determine how well your implementation harnesses the Cell SPEs to accelerate computation. We will use profiling tools to quantify performance, comparing execution time when using the PPE to the execution time when the SPEs are also used. The profiling will attempt to measure performance scalability as the number of available SPEs is increased from one to six. The performance analysis will be done after class.

Project Scope

You chose the projects, and as a result, no two projects are the same. We will determine the scope of the project based on the algorithms you implement, as well as your parallelization approach.

Project Completeness

The projects you chose are ambitious and exciting. The time for implementation is short and limited. Your code should be robust. That means the behavior should be reproducible, and the code should not repeatedly crash, deadlock, or produce incorrect results.

Presentation and Demo

We strongly encourage you to take the time and rehearse your presentation at least once before the final competition. How you present your project will directly impact how we perceive your project in terms of its complexity and completeness.


Project Ideas (PDF)

The videos and presentations in the projects are courtesy of the team members and are used with permission.

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2007
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Competition Videos
Other Video
Lecture Notes