An Experiment to Measure the Usability of Parallel Programming Systems

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Technical report TR94-03. The growth of commercial and academic interest in parallel and distributed computing during the past fifteen years has been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of available parallel programming systems (PPS). However, little work has been done to evaluate their usability, or to develop criteria for such evaluations. As a result, the usability of a typical PPS is based on how easily a small set of trivially parallel algorithms can be implemented by its authors. This paper discusses the design and results of an experiment to objectively compare the usability of two PPSs. Half of the students in a graduate parallel and distributed computing course solved a problem using the Enterprise PPS while the other half used a PVM-like library of message-passing routines. The objective was to measure usability. This experiment provided valuable feedback as to what features of PPSs are useful and the benefits they provide during the development of parallel programs. Although many usability experiments have been conducted for sequential programming languages and environments, they are rare in the parallel programming domain. Such experiments are necessary to help narrow the gap between what parallel programmers want, and what current PPSs provide. | TRID-ID TR94-03

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution 3.0 International