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Elizabeth Shoop

Editor and Contributor
CSinParallel Leadership Team
Professor of Computer Science, Macalester College

Tell us a little about yourself
I learned about parallel and distributed computing quite some time ago, when I was in computer science graduate school in 1988-1995. At that time I used several different kinds of parallel and distributed computers and became enthralled with what was then the early stages of supercomputing. Today I am a professor of computer science at Macalester College and have enjoyed many years of teaching PDC and other aspects of computer systems to undergraduates.

Why is it an exciting time to study parallel computing?
When I was young we used to joke about the times in the future when our desktop machines would be as powerful as the supercomputers I worked on. Well, that time has long passed and now your laptop is much faster and more powerful than some 'supercomputers' I had worked on. We can now run amazingly fast computations on reasonably priced GPU cards with thousands of core processing units. Just think what exciting times will be ahead for you, as hardware changes march forward and you will be able to easily solve what seems difficult or impossible now, using AI, Augmented and VIrtual reality, Big Data, Internet of Things, and Cybersecurity, to name a few. Many cores on all types of hardware, from your phone to the cloud, are at your disposal if you know how to use them!