Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New software design technique allows programs to run faster

Date:
April 6, 2010
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new approach to software development that will allow common computer programs to run up to 20 percent faster and possibly incorporate new security measures.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new approach to software development that will allow common computer programs to run up to 20 percent faster and possibly incorporate new security measures.

Related Articles


The researchers have found a way to run different parts of some programs -- including, for the first time, such widely used programs as word processors and Web browsers -- at the same time, which makes the programs operate more efficiently.

In order to understand how they did it, you have to know a little bit about computers. The brain of a computer chip is its central processing unit, or "core." Computing technology has advanced to the point where it is now common to have between four and eight cores on each chip. But for a program to utilize these cores, it has to be broken down into separate "threads" -- so that each core can execute a different part of the program simultaneously. The process of breaking down a program into threads is called parallelization, and allows computers to run programs very quickly.

However, some programs are difficult to parallelize, including word processors and Web browsers. These programs operate much like a flow chart -- with certain program elements dependent on the outcome of others. These programs can only utilize one core at a time, minimizing the benefit of multi-core chips.

But NC State researchers have developed a technique that allows hard-to-parallelize applications to run in parallel, by using nontraditional approaches to break programs into threads.

Every computer program consists of multiple steps. The program will perform a computation, then perform a memory-management function -- which prepares memory storage to contain data or frees up memory storage which is currently in use. It repeats these steps over and over again, in a cycle. And, for difficult-to-parallelize programs, both of these steps have traditionally been performed in a single core.

"We've removed the memory-management step from the process, running it as a separate thread," says Dr. Yan Solihin, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, director of this research project, and co-author of a paper describing the research. Under this approach, the computation thread and memory-management thread are executing simultaneously, allowing the computer program to operate more efficiently.

"By running the memory-management functions on a separate thread, these hard-to-parallelize programs can operate approximately 20 percent faster," Solihin says. "This also opens the door to development of new memory-management functions that could identify anomalies in program behavior, or perform additional security checks. Previously, these functions would have been unduly time-consuming, slowing down the speed of the overall program."

Using the new technique, when a memory-management function needs to be performed, "the computational thread notifies the memory-management thread -- effectively telling it to allocate data storage and to notify the computational thread of where the storage space is located," says Devesh Tiwari, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of the paper. "By the same token, when the computational thread no longer needs certain data, it informs the memory-management thread that the relevant storage space can be freed."

The paper, "MMT: Exploiting Fine-Grained Parallelism in Dynamic Memory Management," will be presented April 21 at the IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium in Atlanta. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation. The paper is co-authored by Tiwari, Solihin, NC State Ph.D. student Sanghoon Lee and Dr. James Tuck, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State.

NC State's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is part of the university's College of Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "New software design technique allows programs to run faster." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405102112.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2010, April 6). New software design technique allows programs to run faster. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405102112.htm
North Carolina State University. "New software design technique allows programs to run faster." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405102112.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

Buzz60 (Oct. 23, 2014) — Need help organizing your bills, schedules and other things? Ko Im (@konakafe) has the best apps to help you stay on top of it all! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — For those looking for wearable tech that's significantly less nerdy than Google Glass, Nike CEO Mark Parker says don't worry, It's on the way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins