Microsoft Initiative Pushes Real World Modeling in the Cloud

May 18, 2010

Stuart J. Johnston

Microsoft executives have a long tradition of sending e-mails to CEOs and other technology influencers to explain how technology change is likely to impact the future -- particularly when that change revolves around Microsoft's in the Cloud technology.

Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Server and Tools Business group, on Monday issued just such an e-mail regarding the company's plans to simplify real-world modeling through the formation of what he calls Microsoft's Technical Computing Initiative. "Our goal is to unleash the power of pervasive, accurate, real-time modeling to help people and organizations achieve their objectives and realize their potential," Muglia said in his e-mail.

In addition to outlining Microsoft's current efforts advancing the state of the art in modeling, Muglia also introduced, a new website meant to further drive technical computing.

"We are bringing together some of the brightest minds in the technical computing community across industry, academia and science at to discuss trends, challenges and shared opportunities," he continued.

In his missive, Muglia pointed to recent, and continuing, advancements in high-performance computing (HPC), as well as multi-core processors and parallel programming tools as opportunities to make real-world modeling less time- and resource-intensive. For instance, two years ago, Microsoft and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) agreed to help fund research into parallel computing.

Microsoft is also investing significantly in HPC technologies -- both through internal development and outside acquisitions. The goals of Microsoft's technical computing contributions include providing HPC power "in the cloud," as well as consistent parallel computing technologies, Muglia said.

"Our development efforts will yield new, easy-to-use tools and applications that automate data acquisition, modeling, simulation, visualization, workflow and collaboration," he said. "This will allow [engineers, analysts and scientists] to spend more time on their work and less time wrestling with complicated technology. One day soon, complicated tasks like building a sophisticated computer model that would typically take a team of advanced software programmers months to build and days to run will be accomplished in a single afternoon by a scientist, engineer or analyst working at the PC on their desktop."

Muglia pointed to efforts underway to improve modeling for malaria researchers, who are working to drastically lower the rate of infection from today's level of 300,000 to 500,000 new cases per year. Eradicating malaria is one of the goals of the Bill Gates' foundation. In another example, Muglia pointed to NASA using technical computing and real-world modeling to plan space flights.

"As technology continues to advance, these models will become more complete and accurate in the way they represent the world," he said. "This will speed our ability to test new ideas, improve processes and advance our understanding of systems."

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: Cloud, Microsoft, IT-business integration, Technical Computing Initiative, modeling,

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