Sun, Microsoft eye high-performance computing, AJAX

Sun Microsystems and Microsoft are progressing with programming language research efforts aiming at high-performance computing (HPC) and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), respectively.

With its Fortress language, Sun researchers are developing a general purpose language intended for HPC applications such as weather simulation or large-scale enterprise-level transactional applications. Fortress will be offered to the community at large via an open source format, although plans on exactly when and how that will be done still are undetermined.

Fortress attempts to overcome current HPC programming issues with Fortran and C++, said Eric Allen, principal investigator in the programming languages research group at Sun. These languages suffer from ill-defined semantics that cause bit-level compatibility problems and are unsafe, requiring programmers to often focus on insidious bugs, said Allen, who spoke during an "Open House" event at Sun's offices.

"Currently, high-performance computing is dominated by two languages: Fortran, and C++. Unfortunately, both of these languages are ill-suited for the task," Allen said.

He said the languages also have no provisions for concurrency, which must be graphed on top of them and can cause conflicts with syntax.

"What's the result? We see programs that are often unnecessarily long, there are errors that are even difficult to detect, much less diagnose, and hardware parallelism is often difficult to exploit," Allen said.

With Fortress, Sun researchers want to change how high-performance computing is done and allow scientists to program more closely to their own domain, he added. Goals include allowing for abstraction and reuse without overhead, making errors easier to correct and detect and making it easier for parallelism and distribution.

"The most important thing to know about Fortress is that it is parallel. In fact, it's really parallel," said Allen.

Although Fortress follows in the footsteps of Java in the area of syntax, it is a separate language, one that has been in development for three years.

"Our strategy with Fortress is to foster community development by establishing a series of open source projects for the language," and seeding them with initial code and contributing extensions, Allen said.

At Microsoft, Nikhil Kothari, an architect on on that firm's "Atlas" team, is working in his spare time on a project called Script#, which enables developers to more easily leverage C# skills to build JavaScript, according to Microsoft. Atlas is a framework for building rich Web applications on top of ASP.Net 2.0; it is planned for inclusion in the upcoming "Orcas" release of the Visual Studio development tools platform.

Pronounced "script sharp," Script# brings the C# developer experience, including programming and tooling, to the JavaScript and AJAX world, according to a Microsoft representative.

"As Microsoft began to build Atlas, we explored a number of different approaches for creating a state-of-the-art experience for building AJAX-enabled Web applications. Script# is a prototype of one such exploration," Microsoft said in a prepared statement.

A Script# compiler and a sample became available on Kothari's blog on May 22.

At this time, however, there are no plans make Script# an officially supported Microsoft product. But the company continues to look for ways to improve the quality of its developer platform to enable the development of compelling Web experiences, Microsoft said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?