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Show Me the Mundie

Another important guy who got some welcome face time at the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting was Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie. Mundie, who is responsible for a lot of the deep thinking and research that goes on in Redmond, spent a few minutes eulogizing Moore's Law. With clock-speed gains off the table as a way to empower software, the effort has turned to parallelism, concurrency and multi-core CPUs.

As Mundie pointed out, this transition is going to be, well, hard. "This really is a computer science problem and it's going to affect the whole stack, from the architecture of the machine itself to the tools that the programmers of the future will use, and ultimately to how we conceptualize and build these applications," he said.

And just as Mundie is getting my interest -- I mean, exactly how does Microsoft propose we rework the stack and parallelize our applications? -- he takes a hard turn straight into 2001. All of a sudden, he's pitching vaguely imaged descriptions of loosely coupled systems, computers in the cloud and contextually aware hardware and software that will know what we need before we need it.

Outside of a few specific mentions of Software-plus-Services and Microsoft's Surface technology, this part of the presentation sounds like it was ripped straight from Intel's playbook five or six years ago. Not that the actual vision of services-based applications and evolved client systems that anticipate user requests is a bad thing; I was just shocked to find that we're still talking about the same, old stuff, all this time later.

None of this detracts from the important fact that Mundie spent a good deal of time preparing the financial community for what will be an aggressive retooling of the software development stack as we enter the era of parallel programming and concurrent applications. I expect we'll be hearing plenty more specifics in the months to come.

Are you ready for the multi-core revolution and parallelized software? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 08/01/2007

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