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CSC 415: Parallel Computing (Fall 2021)

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This class follows the collaborative course: "Applications of Parallel Computers", sponsored by XSEDE taught by the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Students enrolled in this course will have access to teaching and computing resources from UC Berkeley and XSEDE.


CSC 415 provides a deep understanding of the fundamental principles in modern parallel computing systems. Topics include: basic concepts of computer architecture, microprocessors and operating systems; parallel programming models; message passing; threads and shared memory; GPU architectures and CUDA programming.

Course Info

  • Instructor: Prof. Marco Alvarez
  • Lectures: MWF 1 - 1:50p
  • Office Hours: Please message the instructor via Ed to schedule (virtual) office hours.

Support Tools and Technology

Students in this class will use the following platforms for communication, assignments, and grading. All students are required to use their primary email from eCampus for entering Piazza and Gradescope. We automatically register students.

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Homework Assignments

Homework assignments are individual work, unless stated otherwise in the assignment's instructions. Students will have roughly 7-10 days to work on each assignment. Each assignment has a specific due date/time listed on the course website. Late submissions will not be accepted. Students are strongly encouraged to bring their code or solutions to instructor's office hours prior to the due date.

Final Project

The Final Project is to be done individually and the deliverables include: progress report, final report, and a live presentation. Your group will select a project from a list shared by the instructor. Most of the projects will require auxiliary reading and continuous effort throughout the semester. A good amount of extra-credit will be assigned to outstanding projects.


Task How Many? Percentage
Quizzes ~15 15%
Assignments ~4 25%
Technical Presentation 1 25%
Final Project 1 35%

Final letter grades are calculated using the cutoffs below. These values might be lowered, but they will not be raised. A final letter grade will be the letter corresponding to the highest cutoff value less or equal than the final grade. Consider that those values are strict. For example, a final grade of 93.99 is an A- and not an A.

A    A-    B+    B    B-    C+    C    C-    D+    D    F
94   90    87    83   80    77    73   70    67    60   0

Academic Honesty

Discussions with peers to gain more insights on coursework and lectures is strongly encouraged. However, when working on assignments, all written work and source code must be original. Students might not look at anyone's written solution. Copying another individual solution is plagiarism, a serious offense, and the one most common in computer science courses. Anyone that provides homework answers or source code for a programming assignment to another individual is also guilty of academic dishonesty. Students caught plagiarizing will be prosecuted in accordance with the University's Academic Honesty Procedures.

COVID-19 Updates

  • Universal indoor masking is required by all community members, on all campuses, regardless of vaccination status. If the universal mask mandate is discontinued during the semester, students who have an approved exemption and are not fully vaccinated will need to continue to wear a mask indoors and maintain physical distance.  
  • Students who are experiencing symptoms of illness should not come to class.  Please stay in your home/room and notify URI Health Services via phone at 401-874-2246.
  • If you are already on campus and start to feel ill, go home/back to your room and self-isolate. Notify URI Health Services via phone immediately at 401-874-2246.

Disability Accommodations

Any student with a documented disability is welcome to contact me as early in the semester as possible, so that we may arrange reasonable accommodations. As part of this process, please be in touch with Disability, Access, and Inclusion Office.

Religious Holidays

It is the policy of the University of Rhode Island to accord students, on an individual basis, the opportunity to observe their traditional religious holidays. Students desiring to observe a holiday of special importance must provide written notification to each instructor.