"to appear as a chapter in: Handbook of Parallel and Distributed Computing edited by Albert Y. Zomaya, McGraw-Hill, 1995"


A heterogeneous computing (HC) system provides a variety of architectural capabilities, orchestrated to perform an application whose subtasks have diverse execution requirements. One type of heterogeneous computing system is a mixed-mode machine, where a single machine can operate in different modes of parallelism. Another is a mixed-machine system, where a suite of different kinds of high-performance machines are interconnected by high-:speed links. To exploit such systems, a task must be decomposed into subtasks, where each subtask is computationally homogeneous. The subtasks are then assigned to and executed with the machines (or modes) that will result in a minimal overall execution time for the task. Typically, users must specify this decomposition and assignment. One long-term pursuit in the field of heterogeneous computing is to do this automatically. The field of HC is quite new, having been made possible by recent advances in high-speed inter-machine communication. This report is a brief introduction to HC.

Date of this Version

December 1994