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The Parallel Patterns Library


Kate Gregory doesn’t work for Microsoft, but she’s a certified MVP for C++. In her talk at Tech Ed North America, “Modern Native C++ Development for Maximum Productivity”, she introduced the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL) and the concurrency runtime provided in Microsoft Visual C++ 2010.

The graphic below shows how a C++ developer interfaces with the concurrency runtime via the facilities provided in the PPL. Casting aside the fact that the stack only runs on Windows platforms, it’s the best of both worlds – parallelism and concurrency.

Note that although they are provided via the “synchronization types” facilities in the PPL, writing multi-threaded programs doesn’t require programmers to use error-prone locks. The messaging primitives (for inter-process communication) and concurrent collections (for intra-process communication) provide easy-to-use abstractions over sockets and locks programming. The messy, high-maintenance details are buried out of programmer sight inside the concurrency runtime.

I don’t develop for Microsoft platforms, but if I did, it would be cool to use the PPL. It would be nice if the PPL + runtime stack was platform independent. But the way Microsoft does business, I don’t think we’ll ever see linux or RTOS versions of the stack. Bummer.

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