The PDC Is Over; Here Comes the SDP

November 20, 2009

A few hours ago the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2009 was adjourned. What a conference it was! Lots of interesting sessions, our own Ariel Ben Horesh presenting together with Glenn Block, the free Acer multitouch tablet, lots of great food – an amazing week at the session halls, the Sela booth at the Partner Expo, and in Los Angeles in general. Now that the PDC is over, it’s time to start preparing for the SDP – Sela Developer Practice. We’re going to bring the information back to Israel so that Israeli developers can learn about all the latest...
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PDC 2009 Day 3: Power Tools for Debugging

The last session at the PDC that I’m attending is about incubation tools for debugging, from Microsoft Research. Debugging is hard and the process of finding the root cause is manual and therefore tedious and long. The formal debugging process – ask an expert, check the bug database, check the version history, reproduce the bug, trace in a debugger. Can we automatically debug the code and find the root cause?...
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PDC 2009 Day 3: New Developer Tools in Windows Embedded Standard 2011

Existing Windows Embedded offerings: Windows Embedded Compact runs on consumer devices such as GPS, Windows Embedded Standard runs on microscopes, projectors, and Windows Embedded POSReady runs on point-of-sale devices. Windows Embedded Standard 2011 is a way to build devices with a custom Windows 7-based OS, with only the features you need. It supports standard Windows applications, 64-bit and 32-bit drivers, Windows servicing tools, and additional features. The Developer Toolkit has a Wizard experience – Image Build Wizard, installs a Standard 2011 image on the device interactively, suitable for prototyping and evaluation. The Advanced Experience (Image...
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PDC 2009 Day 3: A Lucky Guy Went Home with the HP TouchSmart IQ846 (25.5” All-in-One PC)

About an hour ago, the Silverlight 4 application that Alex wrote for the Sela booth at the PDC was used to draw one lucky winner who took home an HP TouchSmart IQ846 – an all-in-one PC with a 25.5” dual-touch display that can be used as a great media-center. Its tech specs are really neat, and in fact back home I have a slightly older model of the same machine. Other than the TouchSmart, we also gave away two 8MP Polaroid cameras. Thanks to everyone who came to the booth in aisle 400, and we...
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PDC 2009 Day 3: DirectCompute: Capturing the Teraflop

November 19, 2009

Chas Boyd’s session on DirectX11 DirectCompute is going to focus on bringing the power of the GPU for general-purpose computing (and not necessarily graphics applications). A modern CPU would have 4 cores, run at 3GHz, 4 float-wide SIMDs, peak theoretical performance of 48-96GFlops, 2x hyperthreaded capability, 64KB L1 cache, a memory interface of about 20GB/s, and take about 200W out of the wall at a cost of about $200. A GPU is usually constructed from 32 cores, each 32-float wide, at 1GHz, giving us about 1Teraflop (with high-end ones giving much more), 32x hyperthreading, and a very...
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PDC 2009 Day 3: Developing Applications for Scale-Up Servers Running Windows Server 2008 R2

Pedro Teixeira is going to talk about processes and threads in systems with more than 64 logical processors as well as user-mode scheduling. Surprisingly for some people, NUMA is not an esoteric hardware architecture. Even high-end gaming rigs today are NUMA; Pedro is going to use a loaned machine by HP that has 256 processors with 1TB of physical memory. Processor Groups Adding support for more than 64 logical processors required a breaking app compat change, because CPU masks were represented in Windows by a bitmask. Therefore, CPUs are now addressed by 64-processor groups...
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PDC 2009 Day 3: Lighting Up Windows Server 2008 R2 Using the ConcRT on UMS

Dana Groff, Senior Program Manager on the ConcRT team is going to talk about the new Concurrency Runtime – an abstraction on top of the underlying operating system, supported from Windows XP through Windows Server 2008 R2. The ConcRT Resource Manager is an abstraction over the hardware that allows vendors like Microsoft and Intel (OpenMP, TBB) to program at a higher layer and compose these platforms, as well as coming up with one set of concepts for providing parallel code such as tasks, task groups and so forth. Dana uses a high-end AMD server with 48 cores (eight six-core processors, with...
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PDC 2009 Day 2: Developing with the Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .NET Framework

Yochay, a good friend and co-author of “Introducing Windows 7 for Developers” and of the “Windows 7 Taskbar APIs” MSDN Magazine article, is delivering a presentation on the Windows API Code Pack. (Which is a library of managed APIs to interact with Vista and Windows 7 features that are otherwise accessible only from native code through COM and Win32 APIs.) This library replaces many of the sample managed integration libraries that our team at Sela developed for the Windows 7 Metro Training, such as the Taskbar integration library, the Sensor and Location integration library, and many others. It’s...
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PDC 2009 Day 2: The State of Parallel Programming

Burton Smith’s session on the state of parallel programming was standing-room only – I’m sitting on the floor with some chairs blocking my view of the presentation :-) Generally, Burton Smith lays out a theory of parallel programming that I tried to cover in the notes below. Imperative languages prefer putting values in parameters, and they are prone to data races which are rather hard to detect considering the amount of possible paths. Pure functional languages avoid variables – they compute new constants from their old values and provide means for efficient reclamation of old constants....
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Unpacking the Acer Aspire 1420P PDC Edition

As I wrote a few hours ago, every PDC attendee got himself a nice little Acer Aspire 1420P laptop (by the way, kudos to the conference organizers – I went to pick up the laptop during the 30-minute break at 12:30PM, and the queue was very long but also very quick – in less than 10 minutes I was holding the laptop in my hands). This laptop comes preinstalled with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit edition, Office 2010 Beta, Windows Live Essentials and Virtual PC (XP Mode) for Windows 7, and the Windows 7 Touch Pack which is a bundle...
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