With its release on Monday of the first public beta of Windows HPC Server 2008 RC2, Microsoft also was touting features introduced in the second beta of Visual Studio 2010. Expected in March, Redmond's next IDE will simplify development of new applications and modification of existing ones to take advantage of its high performance computing platform, according to claims. Windows Server HPC 2008 is currently scheduled for release late summer, 2010.

"The topic of making serial code into parallel code continues to be very complex," said Ryan Waite, product unit manager for High Performance Computing at Microsoft in a phone interview yesterday. He said there are two new tools in the product for doing that, one for code that uses the Messaging Passing Interface standard on many HPC systems, and another for SOA. "We provide support for both tightly coupled computing code that uses MPI and MPI-like communications patterns, and a lot of these parallel types of codes that use more of a service-oriented programming model."

The second VS2010 beta is packaged with the forthcoming .NET Framework 4 beta 2, which Waite said also provides HPC support. "The great thing about Visual Studio 2010 is that we've abstracted some of the concepts for writing parallel code. So instead of you having to have to have a PhD in computer science to make sense of writing parallel apps, We've made it so that a lot of the concepts that are difficult for developers to grasp or implement have been canonized in the .NET framework."

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

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