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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Parallel programming by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

1,765 ratings
270 reviews

About the Course

With every smartphone and computer now boasting multiple processors, the use of functional ideas to facilitate parallel programming is becoming increasingly widespread. In this course, you'll learn the fundamentals of parallel programming, from task parallelism to data parallelism. In particular, you'll see how many familiar ideas from functional programming map perfectly to to the data parallel paradigm. We'll start the nuts and bolts how to effectively parallelize familiar collections operations, and we'll build up to parallel collections, a production-ready data parallel collections library available in the Scala standard library. Throughout, we'll apply these concepts through several hands-on examples that analyze real-world data, such as popular algorithms like k-means clustering. Learning Outcomes. By the end of this course you will be able to: - reason about task and data parallel programs, - express common algorithms in a functional style and solve them in parallel, - competently microbenchmark parallel code, - write programs that effectively use parallel collections to achieve performance Recommended background: You should have at least one year programming experience. Proficiency with Java or C# is ideal, but experience with other languages such as C/C++, Python, Javascript or Ruby is also sufficient. You should have some familiarity using the command line. This course is intended to be taken after Functional Program Design in Scala:

Top reviews

Apr 23, 2018

The course is fairly advanced and you would need to review the materials many times to understand the concept. The assignments are definitely fun and not as straightforward as other courses.

Aug 24, 2017

Superb study material. Learnt a lot during this course. I am not much into mathematical stuff, but got a hang of how to break problems and improve efficiency through parallelism.

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226 - 250 of 258 Reviews for Parallel programming

By Federico L

Aug 5, 2017

Good content. Very basic overview of parallel programming algorithms and data structures in scala. Course feel a little bit hacked together although not as bad as the Functional Program Design one.

Course should be more in depth.

By masaaki f

Mar 31, 2017

Online video is OK. But assignments are not much related to parallel programming specific issues. One case, this is my opinion but it's nice if students learn how scala solves "The dining philosophers" issue.

By Pavel O

Oct 2, 2016

Good course. But I have a strong feeling that would be nice to have more focus on the practice. Some lecture not really much with the results of assignments. Good course anyway. Pavel

By Rudolf Z

Sep 20, 2017

Most of assignments are good. They show applications of parallel programming very well. Some lectures are booring? but important. For instance, lectures about assotiativity.

By Shriraj B

Mar 24, 2020

The content presented definitely is good, but in the assignment the things used could be explained in the lectures for better understanding of learners.

By Luis V

Nov 9, 2017

Good course and good level on the assignments but needs a lot of improvement on the lectures, specially in the two last weeks.

By Sergey

Sep 30, 2020

Хочется получить опыт работы с примитивами scala для параллельного программирования, а не с готовыми болванками

By Joseph K

Jul 31, 2017

Lectures are not easy to understand. It almost feels like they plucked various sections from a longer course.

By Carlos V

Jun 19, 2020

No presentaba los topicos que deseaba. Ya no deseo el cruso, y no se muestra como darme de baja.

By Igor M

Oct 24, 2017

There are not clear test errors, that points to another place in code where mistake is placed.

By Gabriel G

Oct 31, 2016

Deep lectures, but exercises where more about complex problems than about parallel programing

By Igor W

Jun 12, 2017

Too much imperative technics in this "functional" parallel programming course.

By Igor C

Sep 29, 2016

The course if good, but i believe the content should be more didactic.

By Cedric D B

Aug 8, 2017

Good but too theoretical and not very didactic.

By Evgenii S

Jun 24, 2018

For now, the worst course in Specialization.

By Lestar C

Jun 14, 2017

Not enough Scala. Akka version was better :(

By Guomao X

Aug 17, 2016

should contain more details

By Simon

Nov 23, 2018

exercise are too heavy

By Marcin H

Feb 27, 2020

I must admit I am very disappointed with this course.

First of all - provided unit tests are inadequate. To say the least. They do not cover all functionalities that are to be implemented. Of course I could write my own unit tests. If I only knew what I was supposed to do... Yep, a few times my own tests passed but tested functionality was turned down by coursera tests with a perfect message like "assertion failed". Great, I know this. But I want to know what exactly failed without having to guess and reuploading solution dozens of times. I wasn't able to max out the last assignment (I did 9/10) due to another obscure assertion message - "body not found in right sector" and have no idea what was wrong and which body were not in which sector. Message that something went wrong without any details is like no message at all. Implemented functionality is rather straightforward so I suspect something went wrong in previously implemented methods which were accepted by coursera. Moreover I was able to pass one method implementation just by simply filling the whole matrix with one specific value which proves rather poor quality of the tests.

Second thing - this is very academic course. Very. I doubt anyone will find it useful in real life unless you are a student or maybe a teacher.

Generally I feel like I wasted my time here. Sorry.

UPDATE: I am a completionist so I finally managed to max the last assignement out with some guessing and of course like I expected I had a bug in some old method (poor coursera tests had accepted it) but I am still dissapointed and can't imagine why I would need this whole stuff in the real life. What I learnt here is guessing and "hacking" coursera tests.

By Anton K

Aug 5, 2016

The course presents two core approaches to parallel programming - task and data parallelism. While these concepts are really useful, I expected more details on, for example, how to implement the _parallel_ construct used throughout the lectures. The materials were good and I can use some of the ideas straight after the lectures in my everyday coding, but the assignments were really slightly related to the topic.

Barnes Hut simulation assignment. I'd say it has nothing in common with parallel programming in Scala. It looks like the authors looked for some real-life example or use case for Combiners and this simulation model looked nice. But, really, does any developer not working in university would ever use it? It's completely impractical, the most of the time I spent reading the description of simulation model, but the coding itself was just playing with 2D coordinates and some basic recursion. I'd expect something more practical, e.g. implementing simplified form of Hadoop map-reduce or something like that so I can use it after the course. But Barnes-Hut is too specific and is pretty far from everyday problems developers encounter.

By Oleg S

Feb 9, 2017

For a while, that's the worst course of scala specialization. All the parallelism is just obvious division of a one big piece on several small pieses, and perfrom parrallel tasks on it. It's enogh to write merge sort with several threads to get the main idea, which is proposed here. You don't need to watch 4 weeks of coursera video and perform tasks to get it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I expected something more than trivial division. Besides that, I don't like the tasks. And I hate the last one week. Very bad description of the problem, it made me really suffer. I'd like much more the first 2 courses. Which I rated as 5 and 4 accordingly, but this one is fail. Besides that, I like the theory about parallel and concurent programming, and all the stuff about "iron". Hope the 4th one course will be better.

By Jarl A H

Feb 1, 2020

I really don't liked how you are forced to implement a logic you can barely understand by looking at the minimal assignment text. I mean, what the heck. I thought this course (or courses) were supposed to teach you specific subjects like parallel programming. Not how you compute the centerX based on four quads in a fork? I mean. come one. At least explain enough so that it's at least remotely possible to implement the core logic in the start of week 4. I mean, how should I know that the size of a fork is <spoiler>? (yup, can't tell if even if you pointed a gun at me)

By Tony B

Jun 30, 2016

Excellent lectures, let down by the difficulty of the assignments.

While the tutors clearly know their stuff, I found the assignments really quite challenging and of limited educational value due to the mixture of new concepts introduced by the lectures along with new (to me) mathematics or CS that also needed to be grasped.

I'm an experienced professional programmer with the EPFL 'FP in Scala' and FRP courses under my belt, so I thought I knew what to expect but this was much more time consuming than I'd thought.

By Daniel Z

Feb 10, 2020

The course, especially the last assignment is too overloaded with math that is not really needed during everyday engineering. I understand that that particle collision simulation is classic example and we've all studied it in college. But common, all particle simulations are already implemented. Give people smth they need during their every-day engineering work.

И пожалуйста, покормите Виктора, по голосу такое ощущение, что совсем ослабел.

By antonin p

May 21, 2017

This course is definitely too low level for me, it is also very scientific computation oriented. It was an interesting parenthesis in this cursus, but not with the time taken. Lesson emphasis too much on specific implementation tricks, and are sometimes hard to follow. Also coding style differs greatly from coding style of other lessons (lots of mutability, intensive usage of explicit loops).