Electronic Design

Industry-Academia Partnership Aims To Make Parallel Computing Mainstream

Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are teaming up with the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to accelerate developments in mainstream parallel computing for consumers and businesses. The partnership will create two Universal Parallel Computing Research Centers at the universities. Intel and Microsoft have committed a combined $20 million to the centers over the next five years. UI will contribute another $8 million, and UC has applied for $7 million from a state-supported grant-matching program.

The companies evaluated 25 top-tier institutions in the field of parallel computing research. UC Berkeley and UIUC were selected, among other reasons, for their outstanding reputation in computing and their expertise in parallel computing specifically. The research will complement and extend existing parallel computing programs at UC Berkeley, UIUC, Microsoft, and Intel. The centers’ research agenda aligns closely with both Intel’s Tera-scale Computing Research Program and Microsoft’s Technical Computing Initiative.

“Intel has already shown an 80-core research processor, and we’re quickly moving the computing industry to a many-core world,” said Andrew Chien, vice president of Intel’s Corporate Technology Group and director of Intel Research. “Working with Microsoft and these two prestigious universities will help catalyze the long-term breakthroughs that are needed to enable dramatic new applications for the mainstream user. We think these new applications will have the ability to efficiently and robustly sense and act in our everyday world with new capabilities: rich digital media and visual interfaces, powerful statistical analyses and search, and mobile applications. Ultimately, these sensing and human interface capabilities will bridge the physical world with the virtual.”

Noted Tony Hey, corporate vice president of external research at Microsoft Research: “Driven by the unprecedented capability of multi-core processors, we’re in the midst of a revolution in the computing industry, which profoundly affects the way we develop software. Working jointly with industry and academia, we plan to explore the next generation of hardware and software to unlock the promise and the power of parallel computing and enable a change in the way people use technology.”

University of California at Berkeley
www.berkeley.com

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