Intel announced a suite of parallel coding tools, designed to work with Microsoft Visual Studio. Parallelism isn't new - but, according to Intel, the time has come for parallelism to move forward. From an FAQ on Intel's Parallelism site:
Until recently, parallelism wasn’t commonplace. Parallelism is the ability to do more than one thing at a time. Without support for parallelism such as what is available in Intel multicore processors, there was little or no benefit for writing parallel programs for most developers. There is an opportunity for Intel to help by bringing Intel’s parallelism experience from the world of technical computing, where parallelism is common, to more developers in the form of products to complement and extend Microsoft Visual Studio* for parallelism. Intel is committed to providing software developers with tools to preserve the significant investment they have in source code and development environments and to productively take advantage of the rapidly growing installed base of multicore systems. Applications that take advantage of multicore processors will be better positioned in the highly competitive software marketplace.
The beta trial period won't begin until November 2008 and will run through May of next year. Pricing won't be available until next year. The tools will support Microsoft’s concurrent runtime environment, which is expected to become a central component of Redmond’s next-generation computing model. Mary-Jo Foley has a good post about this on her All About Microsoft blog.
To further understand the forward-scaling movement and why Intel considers parallel coding to be critical to the next phases of computing, we go back to the company's FAQ:
When writing any program, it is important to consider how easily the program will migrate to utilize future machines. With the advent of multicore and manycore processors, a critical element of this is scaling. As core counts rise, a program which is written using the proper techniques and using the proper tools is more likely to take strong advantage of the higher core counts. Intel software development products are designed to help with “forward scaling” to manycore processors including Larrabee. Intel research, such as Ct, is heavily focused on developing even more usage models for manycore processors and “forward scaling” for such models.