Using wrappers to simplify task parallel programming

Written with Michael Graf (Knox `15).
Proceedings of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Midwestern conference (CCSC-MW), pages 73-79, 2014.

A preliminary version of this material was presented as a poster entitled "Accessible parallel programming in Java" at the 4th NSF/TCPP Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Computing Education (EduPar), 2014.

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Teaching parallel programming principles to inexperienced students is challenging because they have difficulty identifying and focusing on the key ideas. With this in mind, we present a simplified interface for the executor framework built into Java. The interface hides configuration choices and complicated features, leaving students with a simple work queue into which they can insert tasks. We also evaluate our interface with a visually-interesting sample problem (heat diffusion), which we provide as a sample assignment.