What Intel and Microsoft did not announce is specifically when they expected
that the industry would make this shift. While Intel is moving forward with
delivering more cores on each new generation of chips, it was not clear from
the announcement whether Microsoft is developing the compilers or a next-generation
operating system that would make parallel computing easier.
Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, said he believes
that Intel is facing competitive pressure from the likes of AMD
and Nvidia as both companies are working to increase awareness of parallel
computing and its ability to work with their processors.
"Intel is on the inexorable path toward many more cores, and they have
already laid out the problem of how do you give employment to all those
cores," Kay said.
"At one point, more than a year ago ... Intel told me that they were
going to slow-roll their road map to a degree and that they were not going to
bring all these cores out as fast as they were technically able because they
couldn't figure out how to program for eight cores and that would be an
inhibiter to adoption," Kay added. "They didn't want to have silicon
lying around and no one using it."
The other obstacle, Kay said, is convincing enterprise buyers that they need
to upgrade to systems that take full advantage of parallel computing. Some
companies might worry that their older software will not work using servers and
operating systems that have been maximized for parallel computing.
Marc Snir, professor of computer science at the University
of Illinois, said he believes that
getting programmers accustomed to parallel computing at the college level first
is one way to bridge this gap.
"Every computer will be a parallel computer ... and
we must bring democracy to parallel computing [and] make every programmer a
parallel programmer," Snir said.