Future Windows to be fundamentally different
Future versions of Windows will have to be "fundamentally different" in order to
take advantage of multicore processors, according to Ty Carlson of Microsoft.
"You're going to see in excess of eight, 16, 64 and beyond processors on
your client computer," said Carlson, director of Technical Strategy at
Microsoft, during a panel discussion at the Future in Review conference. Windows
Vista, on the other hand, is "designed to run on one, two, maybe four
processors", he said, referring to the fact that quad-core processors are now
available from Intel and are on the way from Advanced Micro Devices.
problem, as has been noted on many occasions, is that loads of PC applications
were programmed with serial processing in mind, meaning that the performance of
those applications increased as a chip's clock speed increased. That's not how
it works anymore. The chip industry has decided that multiple cores are the best
way to keep increasing performance, and that means applications now have to be
designed with parallel processing in mind.
Intel and AMD have not
confirmed processor plans beyond eight cores, and only in theory at that. Intel
has demonstrated an 80-core processor, but that's just a research project that
can't run conventional code. But Carlson appears convinced that he and other
software developers should start getting ready for that world.
"In 10 to
15 years' time, we're going to have incredible computing power. The challenge
will be bringing that ecosystem up that knows how to write programs," Carlson
said. Windows Vista is designed to take advantage of multiple processing
threads, but not 16 threads. And application developers are even further behind
in making the transition to the multicore world.
By Tom Krazit (CNet Asia)