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Mundie: Future software to exist in the clouds and on your PC

Future supercomputers in homes means that software development will continue for the desktop and laptop markets.

For all the talk about future software leaving the desktop and running exclusively from services on the Internet, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie doubts this will be so. Speaking in Los Angeles at WinHEC 2007, Mundie's keynote speech, The Evolution of Computing, described, in part, the future of software. He admitted desktop software has reached a road bump; faster apps will require faster CPUs on the PC and that's becoming harder to accomplish--the old way.

Mundie talked on Tuesday morning about the evolution of multicore processor architecture on desktops and laptops. He said that the 3GHz dual-core processor on today's PCs will soon give way to 3GHz quad-core and then 3GHz eight-cores down the road. The new processors will require new software languages. The new programming languages will run programs in parallel and on multiple platforms--PC, mobile, and the Internet.

Mundie says current software poorly utilizes the full CPU potential of any PC; most of the time our screensaver kicks in and performs no background operations. Mundie predicts new software on the PC will utilize the full potential, being capable of anticipating tasks performed frequently (such as downloading Web mail) and perhaps executing these before we sit down to the computer in the morning. Given the PC will soon become a "supercomputer on a die," capable of fast, parallel computations, he says there's room for both Internet-based services and a robust new environment for PC software development.