Unified Parallel C (UPC) is an extension of the C programming language designed for high performance computing on large-scale parallel machines.The language provides a uniform programming model for both shared and distributed memory hardware. The programmer is presented with a single shared, partitioned address space, where variables may be directly read and written by any processor, but each variable is physically associated with a single processor. UPC uses a Single Program Multiple Data (SPMD) model of computation in which the amount of parallelism is fixed at program startup time, typically with a single thread of execution per processor.
The UPC language evolved from experiences with three other earlier languages that proposed parallel extensions to ISO C 99: AC , Split-C, and Parallel C Preprocessor (PCP). UPC is not a superset of these three languages, but rather an attempt to distill the best characteristics of each. UPC combines the programmability advantages of the shared memory programming paradigm and the control over data layout and performance of the message passing programming paradigm.