San Jose (CA) - Intel and Microsoft are planning a make a major announcement about a "joint research undertaking with universities" tomorrow. While we already speculated this announcement will have something to do with a multi-core programming initiative in universities, a note sent by Sun to journalists late Monday confirms: Intel and Microsoft are approaching universities to educate a new generation of multi-core developers.
Ever since the introduction of the first dual-core processors back in 2005, the problem with such CPUs has been that the number of software that can actually take advantage of these powerful new machines is very limited. While server and workstation applications have been threaded for many years, very few mainstream applications ranging from utilities to games have been multi-threaded in the very beginning and it is no secret that companies such as AMD and Intel aren’t happy with the pace multi-core developers are becoming available.
In order to address this issue, some hardware companies have decided to go directly to the source and collaborate with universities to train students on multi-core machines. One of the first companies specifically targeting this segment in North America was Nvidia (at least to our knowledge), which not only developed hardware and co-developed course material, but has been sending engineers to teach classes about its CUDA platform. Providing hardware and some support, which ATI, for example, has done Stanford University and its Folding@Home project, has been common for as long as we can think, but this current trend certainly shows that the industry wants to get much more involved in the education process to make sure their future products can be supported.
Now it is apparently Intel and Microsoft that will be jumping on this train, promoting multi-core development at universities. We will learn tomorrow how deep the two companies will actually get involved, but Sun, which is also an active player in this trend, told us today that it "supports the Intel and Microsoft Multicore initiative, and has been developing software to address the parallel programming issue for years."
While Sun is not an active part of the announcement, the company uses the attention to inform us that it "was the first out the door with multi-core, multithread processors." In a prepared statement, Fadi Azhari, director of marketing of microelectronics at Sun was quoted saying "Our UltraSparc T2 processor leads the industry with eight cores and eight threads per core, and the Solaris OS has been multithreaded for years. We’re excited to see other companies also supporting this approach. It’s a sign of awareness that multithread, multi-core processors are the future of the industry, and the impact software can have on hardware performance."
"Sun has delivered the leading and most complete multi-core/multithreaded stack in the industry Java/Solaris/SPARC for years now and it is great that other vendors like Intel and Microsoft are now joining the fray to accelerate this inevitable momentum," the company said.
The Intel/Microsoft announcement is expected on Tuesday, 1 pm EDT.