In case you missed David Patterson’s talk at SC08, Timothy Prickett Morgan has written a detailed recap of the talk at The Register. In it Patterson provides a view of the work he is doing, and why it matters
These days, Patterson is still at Berkeley, and he runs the Parallel Computing Laboratory that is funded largely by Intel and Microsoft – Par Lab for short. As the name suggests, the lab is trying to tackle the parallel computing problem in new ways. Both corporate and consumer computing today is wrestling with this parallelism problem, right there in the data center and on the desktop, a problem that has plagued supercomputing for decades.
…Solving this particular variant of the parallelism problem is going to take some mind shifting across the IT industry. First, we must stop asking the question about who will need a 100-core processor to run Microsoft Word. Patterson said that while he is a Word user – and he likes Word – the question irks him.
“Questions like that make me think we have failed as educators,” Patterson said. The real issue has nothing to do with supporting legacy applications. “I am pretty sure that the best software has not been written yet,” Patterson said. And he gave a few examples of neat projects that could eat up a lot of parallel processing capacity in a single system.