A few weeks ago, I attended the Intel Developer Forum 2011 (also known as IDF 2011) in San Francisco, California. Paul Otellini, president and chief executive officer of Intel Corporation, talked about the evolution of computing in his opening keynote. I noted five important things he mentioned while describing his vision for the future, which are closely related to the User eXperience (also known as UX):
- The user is in the center.
- Computing is about experiences.
- The experience is even more important than the device.
- User eXperience: anytime, anyway.
- All tied to an increasingly capable cloud.
A few years ago, I wrote "Rich Services Cloud Applications Require Parallel Programming Skills" for Dr. Dobb's. I explained the simple and powerful idea of combining client-side parallelism with cloud-side parallelism. This combination allows developers to take advantage of modern multicore hardware on both sides and offer users the most exciting immersive interactions. Paul's keynote is pushing that idea even further because he considers that the experience is even more important than the device. No matter the number of physical cores you have in any device, you need software prepared to take full advantage of those parallel lanes to provide an engaging experience.
Of course, I didn't want to miss the technical session about River Trail and I had a chance to talk with the members of this exciting project. They explained to me that they started with Firefox but they wanted River Trail to be available in any browser with no limitations. They had to start somewhere and that's why Firefox is the first, but not the last, one.
I've already started working with River Trail and I found the Map/Reduce idioms to be really easy to use. River Trail is still work in progress, but it achieves excellent speedups with modern multicore hardware and even more when you run the code in multicore CPUs with AVX instructions. A few months ago, I had already explained the advantages of running as many SIMD instructions in parallel as available physical cores in "High-Level Programming Languages Should Improve Support for SIMD Instructions." River Trail does a really good job at achieving this. We just have to wait for it to be available in more browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome.