Microsoft puts more oomph into technical computing

Microsoft has taken a great leap forward in the world of technical computing, which they say will assist in the problem-solving process of complicated scientific developments. The company has appointed a new team who will zero in on several problems faced while computing, like moving the high-end computing to cloud apps etc. Microsoft is trying to make the writing of parallel code much simpler and are also in the process of building new software and other tools required for data-heavy modelling jobs.

This jump into the complicated process of high-end computing was announced by Microsoft on its website.

Bob Muglia, the President of Microsoft’s Server and Tools section said, “Recent world events clearly demonstrated our inability to process vast amounts of information and variables that would have helped to more accurately predict the behaviour of global financial markets or the occurrence and impact of a volcano eruption in Iceland”.

The newly instated team is will also look into creating a whole new market for Microsoft’s next operating system – Windows Azure. This team, headed by Bill Hilf and Kyril Faenov, consists of 500 dedicated members, as well as hundreds of others from various product teams at Microsoft. This team will be in charge of high-end computing and several other new products for Windows.

In a telephonic interview, Hilf stated, “We really believe technical computing is going to be the killer app for the cloud.” While referring to the high-end computers, he also said, “They gobble up compute power. They need huge amounts of data.”. Microsoft has long since used Windows HPC Server, which is a cluster-computing edition of the Windows Server.

The primary aim of this new team is to create new types of software that will be helpful for engineers, scientists, and data analysts. Muglia stated, “Our development efforts will yield new, easy-to-use tools and applications that automate data acquisition, modelling, simulation, visualization, workflow and collaboration. This will allow them to spend more time on their work and less time wrestling with complicated technology.”

A crucial challenge that all companies face is the shift in the way the software now needs to be coded for parallel completion of jobs by servers, PCs and processer cores. Addressing this issue, Muglia states, “Parallel programs are extremely difficult to write, test and trouble shoot.” He also says, “Today, computers are shipping with more processing power than ever, including multiple cores, but most modern software only uses a small amount of the available processing power.”

The newly formed team at Microsoft has been working on the HPC Server and have also added simultaneous computing abilities to Visual Studio. They now have a much broader perspective and will be ready with beta versions as well as demos of new products – products that will assist developers in coding versions that can run in a variety of set-ups like laptop, cluster, and even in the cloud. They will provide people with developer tools and also other horizontal tools required by scientists of various industries. For now they will not foray into vertical-specific software.

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