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Microsoft, Intel Team Up on Parallelization Research

Putting their money where their research is, Intel and Microsoft are partnering with academia to create two Universal Parallel Computing Research Centers (UPCRC), aimed at accelerating developments in mainstream parallel computing. The new research centers will be located at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Microsoft and Intel have committed a combined $20 million to the Berkeley and UIUC research centers over the next five years. An additional $8 million will come from UIUC, and UC Berkeley has applied for $7 million in funds from a state-supported program to match industry grants. Research will focus on advancing parallel programming applications, architecture and operating systems software. This is the first joint industry and university research alliance of this magnitude in the U.S. focused on mainstream parallel computing.

Twenty-five top-tier institutions in the field of parallel computing research were evaluated as part of the selection process. UC Berkeley and UIUC were unanimously selected for their outstanding reputation in computing and their expertise in the specific area of parallel computing among other reasons. The UPCRC at UC Berkeley will be directed by David Patterson, professor of computer science and pioneering expert in computer architecture, and will include 14 members from the UC Berkeley faculty, as well as 50 doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. The UPCRC at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be led by Marc Snir, professor of computer science and Wen-Mei Hwu professor of electrical and computer engineering, in collaboration with 20 additional faculty members and 26 graduate students and researchers. Software developed by the centers will be made available to the technology community for additional development.

"This new center is exciting because it will allow us to explore the amazing potential of parallel computing," Patterson said. "We look forward to this once-in-a-career opportunity chance to recast the foundations of information technology, which will benefit the entire IT industry for decades to come."

The research will complement and extend existing parallel computing programs at UC Berkeley, UIUC, Microsoft and Intel. The centers' research agenda aligns closely with both Intel's Tera-scale Computing Research Program and Microsoft's Technical Computing Initiative.

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