6.189 Multicore Programming Primer

January (IAP) 2007

The Playstation 3 TM
The PLAYSTATION®3 platform was used to teach students about parallel programming and multicore architectures. (Image courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. Used with permission.)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete set of lecture notes and video, as well as a full set of recitations. Quizzes are used to reinforce the parallel programming concepts.

Course Description

The course serves as an introductory course in parallel programming. It offers a series of lectures on parallel programming concepts as well as a group project providing hands-on experience with parallel programming. The students will have the unique opportunity to use the cutting-edge PLAYSTATION 3 development platform as they learn how to design and implement exciting applications for multicore architectures. At the end of the course, students will have an understanding of:
  • Fundamental design philosophies that multicore architectures address.
  • Parallel programming philosophies and emerging best practices.

This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month. The course can be tailored to a normal semester time line.


The course instructors are extremely grateful to Sony, IBM, and Toshiba for their support.

Special Features

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .zip, .c, .h, and .s.

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Prof. Saman Amarasinghe
Dr. Rodric Rabbah

Course Meeting Times

Three sessions / week
2 hours / session

Two sessions / week
1 hour / session


Undergraduate / Graduate