It takes more than fast hardware

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-03-18 Print this article Print

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 modest frequency.

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.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel