Microsoft has debuted work that will prepare Windows 7, the next iteration of the Windows client, and the successor of Windows Vista, to handle the imminent evolution of parallel computing.
Windows Vista, as additional hardware and software products play well with the current dual- and quad-core-based PCs, but the continual increase in the number of processors beyond what is available today means that the technology has to be adapted to future CPU architectures. This is why the Redmond company, together with Intel, announced that they would focus efforts on parallel programming operating systems, as well as applications and architecture.
"Intel has already shown an 80-core research processor, and we’re quickly moving the computing industry to a many-core world," said Andrew Chien, vice president, Corporate Technology Group and director, Intel Research. In this context, Microsoft has joined efforts with Intel as well as with academia for two Universal Parallel Computing Research Centers (UPCRC). The new centers are designed to developments in mainstream parallel computing.
"Working with Microsoft and these two prestigious universities will help catalyze the long-term breakthroughs that are needed to enable dramatic new applications for the mainstream user. We think these new applications will have the ability to efficiently and robustly sense and act in our everyday world with new capabilities: rich digital media and visual interfaces, powerful statistical analyses and search, and mobile applications. Ultimately, these sensing and human interface capabilities will bridge the physical world with the virtual," Chien added.
Microsoft and Intel have selected University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The two companies have already committed together no less than $20 million for the parallel computing research centers with UIUC delivering $8 million and $7 million from UC Berkeley.
"Driven by the unprecedented capability of multicore processors, we’re in the midst of a revolution in the computing industry, which profoundly affects the way we develop software," said Tony Hey, corporate vice president of External Research at Microsoft Research. "Working jointly with industry and academia, we plan to explore the next generation of hardware and software to unlock the promise and the power of parallel computing and enable a change in the way people use technology."