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Are PCs doomed to banality? Let's ask legend Dave Patterson

Microsoft RAMPs up, while Google flies

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Radio Reg Talk to a computing legend like Dave Patterson, and you're bound to happen on some unexpected discoveries.

The Berkeley professor and RISC/RAID pioneer this week joined Chris Hipp and me for Episode 9 of Semi-Coherent Computing. Patterson surprised the heck out of us with some off topic news that Google is paying for employees to obtain their commercial pilot licenses. Does the ad broker want to put its data centers closer to satellites by flying them around non-stop? Perhaps.

We also coaxed a couple of on-topic scoops out of Patterson. For example, Microsoft's Chuck Thacker - he of the Alto - has teamed with Berkeley on a multi-threaded software research effort. The partnership will see Microsoft buy and even build a number of Berkeley's RAMP boards.

Next month, Patterson and his cohorts at Berkeley plan to reveal even fresher multi-core research by discussing their work on the mobile computing front. We'll have news on that project when it arrives.

Turning back to the show, Patterson allowed us to pick his brain for close to an hour. We covered his initial RISC designs, RAID work and the RAMP effort.

In addition, we hit on the great debate between Berkeley and Stanford, the next-generation of RAID being put forward by Panasas, Sun's Niagara processors, crappy hard disks and Ivan Sutherland's latest work.

As if that weren't enough, Patterson told us about his big concerns for the computing industry, while Chris and I celebrated Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim as the world's hardest working billionaire.

I want to issue some sincere apologies for the audio quality near the end of the program. Skype just seems to hate wireless connections, and Patterson's line broke down a bit over time. Nonetheless, this was a heck of a show, and I suspect you'll enjoy it.

Semi-Coherent Computing - Episode 9

You can also grab the show off iTunes here or subscribe to the show via this feed.

Thanks for your ears. ®

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