Yes folks, the cloud and parallel processing need killer apps

Yes folks, the cloud and parallel processing need killer apps

Summary: Microsoft's research chief Craig Mundie outlined his view of where computing is headed over the next decade or so and here is a big takeaway: The cloud and multiprocessor computing could use a few good killer applications.Mundie was speaking at the Technology Review Emerging Technology conference.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Microsoft's research chief Craig Mundie outlined his view of where computing is headed over the next decade or so and here is a big takeaway: The cloud and multiprocessor computing could use a few good killer applications.

Mundie was speaking at the Technology Review Emerging Technology conference. Mary Jo Foley reports on Mundie's theme:

Many consider Software + Services (S+S) to be Microsoft’s way of keeping its PC-software money-making machine afloat while the cloud-computing waves come rushing in. But that view ignores the reality that it actually does make sense to run some applications and/or pieces of applications locally, and others off-premise in remote data centers.

In other words, Microsoft thinks the cloud and client will merge and enable new applications. Sounds OK, but is that a killer app?

News.com chief Dan Farber highlights Mundie's talk, which also revolved around spatial computing as the next big thing. Think 3D technology that adapts to you and gives you a feeling of being there. Naturally, this vision will require parallel programming and more processing cores than you can imagine.

Here's a look:

Much of Mundie's talk rehashed familiar themes from Microsoft Research. Mike Ricciuti, who is riding shotgun with Dan, also highlights how Mundie thinks cloud computing needs a killer application too. Mundie's entry into the killer app derby revolves around a mix of the cloud, robotics and sensors --and, naturally, client software (cause you have to use Windows somehow).

While Mundie's chat is just swell, the larger question for me is this: Can you predict a killer app? Historically, killer apps aren't preplanned. And they usually catch folks by surprise.

Spatial computing in 3D, robotics, the cloud and sensors have been on Microsoft's drawing board forever. It's interesting stuff. But none of Mundie's entries are likely to be killer apps.

I do wish we'd find one soon, though. It's particularly worrisome to me that we have all of these cores in chips and there isn't a lot of software taking advantage of them. The mystery killer app will emerge once software vendors figure out how to best take advantage of parallel processing.

Topic: Hardware

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6 comments
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  • That's the Federation,this is illegal boarding

    "Take us to Microsoft."
    BALTHOR
  • Not going to happen in an "application".

    Honestly, I don't see multicores changing applications much or even creating new ones. What I do think will happen is that the processing power will be used to improve the man - machine interface.

    An A.I. (or as close as we can get) capable of understanding my spoken word, body language, gestures, etc. and reacting on it correctly is going to take lots of CPU power.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Try to guess the average computer in 10 years

    And then try to figure out why we need the cloud.

    If you look at the potential growth of computing
    power for the average PC (or Mac) there won't be
    that many killer apps needed for the cloud. They
    will run on your own computers without a
    problem.

    The cloud could be great for backup or syncing,
    but the average consumer won't go pass their
    computer for needed performance.

    And that is just the average user - I won't ever try
    to dream about what the power users will have.

    Other products like smart phones or the iPhone
    are also going to be going through the roof in
    terms of power and onboard apps - leaving the
    cloud for syncing and backup.
    Ken_z
  • RE: Yes folks, the cloud and parallel processing need killer apps

    Microsoft have missed the point completely. The killer app is already here. As users' need to access their key data on their mobile phones in addition to their PC's, so the demand to have access to that data from the cloud will grow. Seamlessly synchronising the data in the cloud with all a users connected devices may be the invisible killer app that makes this work properly.
    biisaacson
  • Monte Carlo Simulation

    ... as used in Financial applications, business scenario planning and even chess playing software ... is one that comes to mind. At present we have to jump through hoops to program EXCEL to use multiple processors.

    I also wonder whether a graphical display, in the way EXCEL handles calculation precedence for instance, would help identify suitable candidates. Turning this round a graphical editor which allowed parts of programs to be sequenced, to be followed by a simple "this bit is to be parallelised" would speed up the process. A sort of IDE for PARALLEL VBA would suit my level of programming (and many others) ;-)
    jacksonjohn
  • The Biggest Needed Cloud Application

    We are currently looking at virtualizing the Citrix Session Servers we use, and it would be a huge advantage to push them onto a cloud. That way we could adjust our loads and add/delete compute resources or move them somewhere else if they are needed elsewhere. Really like the VMWare vision of the Data Center OS. Then when we tie our SANs and data to the cloud too we have a truly virtual enterprise that is resilient and responsive and probably cheaper too!
    rpwillia0@...