Today there was just one session tagged as being about parallelism.
George Chrysanthakopoulos of Microsoft enthusiastically gave his talk "The Concurrency and Coordination Runtime and Decentralized Software Services Toolkit."
George gave an overview of Microsoft’s CCR and DSS Toolkit 2008.
CCR stands for "Concurrency and Coordination Runtime." Early this week - there was a question asked about CCR vs. Concurrency Runtime from the Visual Studio 2010 CTP. The answer was "an unfortunate name clash." The product team said that Concurrency Runtime should eventually be the layer under CCR, but there was no set schedule for that. DSS is value add above that.
George was asked how this related to the talks about TPL and Concurrency runtime in Visual Studio 2008, and he said much the same thing... saying, "This model is its own programming model. We are working to use the same underlying scheduler. But our programming model offers another choice."
This toolkit promotes the creation of highly concurrent distributed applications, built on a message passing interface. It also has capabilities to handle failures - allowing a degree of fault-tolerance. A very important concept in a large distributed system.
George also touted the value of using a Visual Programming Language (to orchestrating DSS services with dataflow). I have long loved the idea of Visual Programming but can't figure out how it is likely to happen. George even said "many people have an allergic reaction to Visual Programming for some reason - so I have to say you do NOT have to use Visual Programming."
George had multiple demos, frequently pointing out that he had run 50K or more tasks in seconds to complete an application on his dual core machine.
His announcement was that this would not be available separate from the Robotics kit on a "soon to be live" web site: http://www.microsoft.com/ccrdss (George said it will be live sometime on October 29th).
George said it will be available on its own due to customer demand - from non-robotics applications. He said we can expect a number of additional cases studies being published in the future showing this - in addition to some he had today. He said. "Today people us it for financial application, computation biology and more."
Until recently the Robotics team as in Microsoft's Research group, but it has moved out into a product organization recently. This toolkit is a very interesting programming model - one that promote a very high degree of scalability. Worth looking at for sure!