Welcome to COMP4300/8300 Parallel Systems, 2024!


This is an honours/master level course that covers a variety of topics related to parallel computing systems. In particular, we will cover, among others:

  • The general principles and techniques which can be used to divide up a computation into concurrent tasks, and how to deal with their synchronization/communication among them;
  • How these can be expressed using the abstractions available in a variety of suitable parallel programming languages.
  • The underlying parallel hardware organizations that implement such programming abstractions; and
  • The modelling, analysis and measurement of parallel program performance and scalability.

The course labs and assignments will make use of the Gadi supercomputer located on-campus at the National Computational Infrastructure facility.


  • The Programs & Courses prerequisites of this course can be found here. They are not that essential, though. While this is an advanced course, intellectual maturity is more important than specifics. Students interested in taking this course and not meeting the formal prerequisites are encouraged to apply for a permission code, highlighting any background in computer organization, threading, networks and C programming. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • The course uses C as its programming language. No explicit activity time will be devoted to training in C. Thus, students unfamiliar with the language should teach themselves from online resources (ASAP!). To this end, we recommend the resources on the textbook page.

Week 1 checklist

Week 1 is important in this course. Please make sure to complete the following by the end of week 1:

  • Attend both lectures.
  • Read this website, especially the policies on deadlines, academic integrity, and conduct.
  • Join Ed Discussion. Use the this Join link with your email address. Use your student UID and NOT your email name account. If you already have an account, no need to sign up, just log in. We will be using this tool to handle all communication.
  • Read carefully all the announcements that have been already posted in Ed Discussion.
  • Create an account in Gadi. To this end, follow the instructions posted here in Ed Discussion. Please also read carefully the usage policy of this precious resource here.
  • Sign up to a lab using MyTimetable.
  • Login to STREAMS if you have never done this before, and then logout. It will trigger the creation of an account on the CSIT labs.

In-Person Study

From semester 1, 2024, this course will be fully taught in-person. Lectures will be delivered on campus; they are recorded and will be available at the Course Wattle some time after each lecture has finished. Labs are also held on campus in the computer labs (CSIT building).

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