Parallel Computing's Already Here

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2008-03-13 Print this article Print

title=Microsoft Plays Catch-Up}

Like the Internet, Microsoft Is Playing Catch-Up

In short, the software Mundie is talking about is already here. He is correct in one way. Microsoft, just as it was with the Internet, is playing catch-up. Microsoft doesn't have a programming language, for example, to make effective use of parallel processing and multicore processors.

Linux, on the other hand, has had MPP aware versions of the standard GCC compilers for almost a decade now. The latest release, GCC 4.3, even includes parallel implementation of many C++ Standard library algorithms.

What we don't have yet is that combination of a new business model and a killer application that will make parallel processing the household name that the Internet has become. I'm not sure we're going to see one.

I don't see a tipping point for parallel processing coming. Instead, I see a steady increase in processing power that will make all of our applications go much faster than they do now.

In 2008, 478.2 teraflops is a remarkable number. In 2018, I wouldn't be surprised if my home PC can equal it. Underneath the hood, amazing things will be happening, but all I, and any user who's not a developer will know, is that our computers are faster than ever.

They won't be fast enough though. We'll never make a computer that fast so long as we're impatient apes who are never satisfied.

I'm editor-at-large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. That's a fancy title that means I write about whatever topic strikes my fancy or needs written about across the Ziff Davis Enterprise family of publications. You'll find most of my stories in Linux-Watch, DesktopLinux and eWEEK. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, I worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects.

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