Plumbing: Parallel Programming for Artists and Makers

Matt Jadud (Allegheny College), Christian Jacobsen (University of Copenhagen)
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This talk will introduce Plumbing, a set of tools to support artists and makers in the programming of low-cost, open-hardware platforms like the Arduino. Plumbing is a library of parallel components written in occam-pi, a small language with a long history. Erlang, Clojure, Go, and the XMOS XC programming language all draw from the linguistic traditions pioneered three decades ago by occam-pi.

Our talk will explore parallel programming with Plumbing through a sequence of programs, each six lines or less. We will start by blinking lights in parallel, show how we can respond to unpredictable sensory input from the world around us, and close with a demonstration of distributed programming. Each of these activities helps illustrate and make accessible a fundamental pattern of parallelism.

We will close with a brief discussion of our initial research regarding the usability of Plumbing by novice programmers, and how those results will help guide the future development of our tools.

Photo of Matt Jadud

Matt Jadud

Allegheny College

Matt is passionate about the design and development of usable languages for embedded control. To this end, he his carries out human-centered research regarding how novices learn to program as well as technical explorations of parallel languages for tiny computers. Most recently, he and his collaborators have launched, a rallying point for parallel programming on the popular Arduino platform. Matt keeps himself busy as a member of the faculty at Allegheny College as well as chasing around a now very mobile baby boy.

Christian Jacobsen

University of Copenhagen

Christian is interested in furthering the use of parallel languages on small embedded devices in a way that makes them accessible to novice and expert alike. In this light he created the Transterpreter, a small virtual machine for embedded parallel programming. Christian now works on the Plumbing framework, a set of components that can be used to introduce parallel programming on embedded devices to novices. When not working on those things, he teaches at the department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen.

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Picture of Howard Lewis Ship
Howard Lewis Ship
07/22/2010 9:27am PDT

I’m really sorry my Clojure talk was opposite this one, I was looking forward to attending.

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