Microsoft super sizes multi-threaded tripe
Pretty sure that we might be ready
Comment Herb and pepper crusted Kobe steak medallions presented on a bed of arugula and baby spring greens tossed in a lemon fennel vinaigrette with baby red and yellow pear tomatoes; haricot verts; toasted sweet and spicy walnuts and crumbled Point Reyes blue cheese presented on the side; and a garnish of puff pastry triangles topped with a balsamic reduction. That's what we were eating when Craig Mundie told us that Microsoft would have tons of multi-threaded software ready for Intel and AMD's upcoming, multi-core chips.
Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, supplied the tripe yesterday, while workers in Microsoft's Mountain View kitchen tossed the salad. The executive tried his best to convince attendees of the "New Software Industry" conference that Microsoft will harness the immense processing power that Intel and AMD plan to ship in the next few years. Judging by the applause, many of the attendees were swallowing.
Mundie's midday talk covered a lot of familiar ground. Developers have lost their - and pardon us because he really did say this - "free lunch" due to the multi-core processor shift. In the good old days, you crafted some adequate code. Then, Intel and AMD released ever faster processors that made that code perform better and better.
With multi-core chips, the developers of old face some pressing challenges. Intel and AMD have given up on trying to speed individual cores much past 3.0GHz. So, you need to write more complex software that can spread across all of the cores well in order to see significant performance gains.
This is a big deal in both the server and consumer software worlds, although the server crowd has done more work thus far to embrace mutli-core chips. On the desktop, you're just looking at video game developers, Adobe and a only a handful of other companies that have multi-threaded code ready.
Microsoft, to its credit, has multi-threaded the calculations in Office Excel 2007. But that's about where the credit ends.
Intel and AMD executives fail to hide their disappointment with Microsoft well on the multi-threaded software front.
During a speech last June, Intel SVP Pat Gelsinger said the following:
"A couple of years ago, I had a discussion with Bill Gates (about the multi-core products). He was just in disbelief. He said, 'We can't write software to keep up with that.'"
Gates ordered the Intel executive to keep pumping out faster product. "No, Bill, it's not going to work that way," Gelsinger informed him.
Microsoft has at least come around from a marketing standpoint with Mundie saying all the right, positive things.
He asked the "New Software Industry" audience to retain skepticism around some of the trends they're seeing in the software industry. Sure, there's a lot of buzz surrounding Google's web-based productivity software and a host of other server-side applications. And, okay, okay, current, dual-core chips seem only barely able to handle Vista.
But . . .
"One has to question whether this is the way it will be for a long period of time or will something change," Mundie said.
The PC will rise once again as the software darling thanks to multi-core chips, Mundie suggested.
"There is going to be a need to harness all of this power."
Microsoft doesn't know for sure what applications will drive the second coming of the PC revolution, but the company feels confident that a shift will occur in the next five (+/- 2) years. Customers will want to use up their abundant local horsepower rather than relying on the "cloud" - aka servers - to manage the work.
Of course, only the very optimistic folks in the industry think developers will craft all that much multi-threaded code in the next few years that can really make use of chips with eight, 16 and 32 cores. And you can bet that Microsoft will be bringing up the rear in this battle, which is a serious problem on the desktop since most of the consumer code revolves around Redmond's timetable.
"I happen to be pretty confident that we will solve these problems," Mundie said.
Where'd that bucket of tripe go? We're starving. ®
... whatever ...
Pretty disappointed to read "fanboy" type comments here ... An article is written about Microsoft's software that perhaps isn't as glowing as some would like and it doesn't take long til we get down to the level of "yeah, but Linux is worse, it's blah blah blah ...". Irrespective of the question of accuracy of the comment, it's just childish.
And as for the "Spaghetti code" in Windows... wasn't this as much as admitted by Mr Gates himself in the Wall Street article referring to the mess they were in over Longhorn's development?
Solaris is the answer?
Sun have Solaris working on the 32 "core" Niagara (depending on how you count; 8 4-way cores)
See http://www.sun.com/processors/UltraSPARC-T1/ - outstanding.
More within my price range is a dual socket-f athlon board with 2 dual core cpus for now, ready to go to 2 quad core.
From a video presentation by Bill Moore on ZFS (see http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/zfs_learning_center.jsp ) I get the impression Sun have been thinking about concurrency for some time in their kernel.
I'm waiting till www.gnusolaris.com stops being alpha and then I should have most of debians tools and the SunOS kernel.
Any chance you need a new reporter or so ? - I am sure I'd be much better at qualifying food and drinks.
Nevermind the technical stuff, but reporting from Microsoft, that wasn't supposed to be all too relevant, as usual.
Single threaded under Linux is not a problem...
So you now have mulicore machines which is basically an SMP box on a chip.
Linux groks multi threads. If you have a single threaded ap, so what? It runs on one thread on one core. That doesn't mean you can't have multiple threads running and different apps on each thread. Nor does it mean that you can't have multiple copies of the single threaded app running in parallel.
With respect to mySQL, that's not the end of the world. IBM's IDS (Informix Dynamic Server) is multi-threaded and runs great. So multi-core processors are a good thing and that productivity tools like app servers, databases and web servers will run under multi-core machines just fine today.
Too much BS about OS design coming from those who only grok windows.
Not saying just use Linux, but also Mac OS (Mach kernel based),Sun Solaris... AIX, HP-UX all dealt with SMP OSs.
Dual core... Lets get some 64bit support too...
I completely agree that companies (especially microsoft) need to optimize applications for dual core processors... But consider the fact that 64bit processors have been produced by AMD for at least 3 years now? And yet how many applications even support the 64bit architecture, let alone are optimized for it? Almost all programs are still running in a 32bit environment and use a single core.
I've tried XP 64bit edition and it was horrible. Almost no drivers for even some of the most simple of hardware and there were a lot of programs that wouldnt run without using a program that emulates the 32bit environment.
So lets look at the fact that companies are just building on the old technology because they dont have to worry about supporting the newer stuff. When will they start optimizing for multi core 64bit processors, let alone multi core 32bit?