Andrew Chien, director of Intel Research, said during a conference call that
his company began to realize in early 2000 that it could no longer rely on
increasing the clock speed of its processors in order to provide additional
performance for applications. Now, the chip maker is looking to move the
application development industry toward developing software that can run in
parallel in order to take advantage of multicore processors that run at a more
The problem is moving developers away from serial programming and into
parallel programming, which is much harder to develop and an area where there
is not a lot of expertise at this point.
"We have ridden an increase in processor performance and scalability
that has been driven by Moore's
Law, of course, and by frequency scaling and gigahertz scaling, and over the
last few years, the whole industry has shifted to emphasis on scaling processor
performance by the use of parallelism," Chien said.
"The use of parallelism provides the promise of delivering much more
energy-efficient computing capability," Chien added. "It also appears
that parallelism is the path forward to the unprecedented levels of performance
that we need to keep delivering in order that this engine of growth and
progress [keep] going."
The investment in parallel computing also comes at a time when Microsoft is
moving to expand its reach into developing much more complex operating systems
and applications. In an interview with Reuters earlier in March, Craig
Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer,
said the company
is increasingly looking at parallel computing as a way to provide greater
performance for the types of software it's developing and the hardware that it
will run on.
Tony Hey, Microsoft's corporate vice president of External Research, gave as
an example of the uses of parallel computing being able to develop personal
health care assistants that will be able to tell users what's wrong with their
health or what medication they need on a particular day.