PDC: Pushing Parallel
Lost amid all the sturm und drang of the Windows
Studio 2010 CTP
is a rather intriguing tale about Microsoft's effort to
introduce and support parallel programming across both the native C++ and .NET
dev stacks. Not so ironically, as it turns out, Microsoft is getting very busy
with parallelization...in parallel.
On the one side is Lynne Hill's Parallel Computing Platform organization, which
is tasked with infusing parallelism into the .NET stack and providing a means
for .NET developers to enable concurrency in their managed code projects using
familiar languages like C# and VB.NET.
This stuff is happening already, Hill pointed out. The F# functional programming
language provides for parallelism through its declarative, side-effect-free
nature, while LINQ and parallel LINQ (pLINQ) enable queries to be run in parallel.
The Visual Studio 2010 CTP provides parallelism support, including a profiler
for assessing how existing applications might be adapted for concurrent operation.
Hill provides a measured, thoughtful and strategic approach to parallelism,
one that will no doubt merge well with the growing list of capabilities in the
On the other side are Tandy Trower and George Chrysanthakopoulos from the Microsoft
Robotics Group. As GM of the Robotics Group, Trower said he inherited from Craig
Mundie an intriguing incubation project, which has emerged today as the Decentralized
Software Services (DSS) and the Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) technologies.
Engineered by Partner Software Architect Chrysanthakopoulos, DSS and CCR have
emerged as an attractive parallelism solution for enterprise customers like
Siemens and Tyco.
The CCR and DSS technologies will eventually end up in the .NET stack. But
for the time being, a growing list of enterprise customers are turning to this
point solution to enable massively parallel code infrastructures.
It's not the first time that Microsoft has delivered multiple technologies
and approaches to a single problem, and no doubt it will not be the last. What's
remarkable is just how different the approaches are. Chrysanthakopoulos and
Trower couldn't help but laugh when I characterized them as guerilla developers,
wearing camouflage and face paint as they worked their way through the high
grass toward their goal.
"We're not in Dev Div, we're a very small group," Chrysanthakopoulos
said. "We're always kind of in the back corner, but we knew it was a solid
model. And we also knew that if we go out there and we become public at least
in one market, people will see the power of this thing and they did. Now we
have things like Siemens and Tyco and some other really big names I can't talk
about yet that really are doing stuff at a scale that, with most Microsoft products,
we don't advertise at that scale."
Expect to hear more about Microsoft's parallelism efforts this week and in
our Nov. 15 issue. Are you looking hard to parallelize your existing code? E-mail
me at email@example.com.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/30/2008 at 1:15 PM