Multi-core chips are becoming the rule these days, with even laptops that sport dual-core CPUs becoming affordable. Dual-core desktops are run-of-the-mill, quad-core desktops are starting to emerge, and there are promises of three, six and eight-core desktop CPUs on the horizon. Thus, getting software that can take truly take advantage of these multi-core architectures is going to become paramount to justify the route manufacturers have taken and the money we have spent on these products.
To help that along, Intel and Microsoft are pledging $20 million in funds over the course of the next five years for academic research that is focused exclusively on parallel processing. On top of the SDKs that vendors like Intel and AMD already provide, they want to join a growing group of companies that want to make software with multiple threads optimized for multiple CPUs commonplace. As clock speed pushes have slowed down, this is the area where everybody should look to enhance for performance improvements.