A new numerical libraries group at MS focused on HPC

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HilbertAstronaut, a PhD student in numerical linear algebra at UC Berkeley, posts at his blog about a recent visit they got from Microsoft

…a new (three months old!) numerical libraries group from Microsoft came over to speak with us linear algebra hackers and parallel performance tuners. Today we did most of the talking, but we learned something from them: They aren’t from MS Research, and they aim to do applied research (not “blue-sky research,” as the group’s manager put it) with a 2-5 year horizon, and then transition successful, desired prototypes out into a production group.

What does MS have to offer that existing 3rd party developers don’t? Interfaces! A favorite topic of mine here at insideHPC.

The second of these has nearly twenty obscurely named arguments relating to the data distribution (it’s a parallel distributed-memory routine) and to iterative refinement — clearly not what you want to give to a 22-year-old n00b fresh out of an undergrad CS curriculum who knows barely enough math to balance a checkbook. Ultimately, MS has to design programmer interfaces for these people, as well as for gurus — which is something that the gurus often forget.