Parallel computers have become widely available in recent years. Many scientists are now using them to investigate the grand challenges of science, such as modeling global climate change, determining the masses of elementary particles from first principles, or sequencing the human genome. However, software for parallel computers has developed far more slowly than the hardware.
Foreword by Bjarne Stroustrup Software is generally acknowledged to be the single greatest obstacle preventing mainstream adoption of massively-parallel computing. While sequential applications are routinely ported to platforms ranging from PCs to mainframes, most parallel programs only ever run on one type of machine. One reason for this is that most parallel programming systems have failed to insulate their users from the architectures of the machines on which they have run.