Microsoft, Intel Earmark $20M for Parallel Computing

Microsoft and Intel plan to establish two centers, at the University of California and the University of Illinois, to study parallel computing and its applications.

Intel and Microsoft are setting aside $20 million to establish a pair of academic centers that will study and develop new methods to increase the use of parallel computing, the two companies announced March 18.

The UPCRC (Universal Parallel Computing Research Centers) are being established at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to the $20 million donation, both universities are slated to donate several million dollars to the two centers through academic grants.

The two centers will focus on accelerating the adoption of parallel computing in both the development of applications and the next generation of hardware that will be built using multicore microprocessors.

IT giants Intel and Microsoft are turning to universities and their research departments at a time when the industry is taking a serious look at how parallel computing-breaking down information into smaller parts to take advantage of multiple processing cores-can assist application developers working to take full advantage of the multicore x86 processors being developed by Intel and its main rival, Advanced Micro Devices.

On March 17, Intel announced that it was moving forward with its Nehalem chip, which will use a new microarchitecture. The company said the Nehalem processor will scale from two to eight cores and offer two instructional threads per core.