The future of computing: Multiple cores, multiple inputs

Microsoft's research unit is betting on software that utilizes multiple core processors and can handle multiple natural inputs such as voice and touch.It's a good bet.

Microsoft's research unit is betting on software that utilizes multiple core processors and can handle multiple natural inputs such as voice and touch.

It's a good bet.

Mary Jo Foley reports from Microsoft's research day:

Seven academic research projects will share the $1.5 million Microsoft allocated for the Safe and Scalable Multicore Computing RFP. According to Microsoft, this RFP is designed to “stimulate and enable bold, substantial research in multicore software that rethinks the relationships among computer architecture, operating systems, runtimes, compilers and applications.”

And all those cores are going to usher in new user interfaces. Mary Jo adds in a followup post:

Instead of allowing users to interact only with touch or only with speech, Microsoft is working on interfaces that will combine multiple natural-input techniques.

Say what you will about Microsoft, but its research unit is one of the coolest things going.

While I'm clearly a keyboard guy at some point--when my hands blow up--I won't be. Wouldn't it be nice to talk a bit and point a bit? In many respects, this vision of computing is coming up fast. For instance, touch is everywhere. Voice recognition has been around for awhile, but it's still a crap shoot. Multicore processing could change that equation and make all of these natural inputs seamless. In many respects, multicore and multiple inputs have to ride shotgun because you need computing horsepower to limit latency.

Whether Microsoft actually cashes in on multicore and multiple input computing remains to be seen, but directionally the company's research unit may be on to something big.

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