Microsoft Files Distributed Computing Patent

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Earlier in the week we noted that Microsoft has filed patent applications on a number of cloud computing concepts. We’ve found one more filing that may be of interest: On Sept. 29, 2006, Microsoft applied for a patent on “distributed parallel computing,” listing the developers of Dryad as the inventors.

Here’s a brief description of the invention cited in the patent filing:

A general purpose high-performance distributed execution engine for coarse-grained data-parallel applications is proposed that allows developers to easily create large-scale distributed applications without requiring them to master concurrency techniques beyond being able to draw a graph of the data-dependencies of their algorithms. Based on the graph, a job manager intelligently distributes the work load so that system resources are used efficiently. The system is designed to scale from a small cluster of a few computers, or the multiple CPU cores on a powerful single computer, up to a data center containing thousands of servers.

Dryad is an infrastructure which allows a programmer to use the resources of a computer cluster or a data center for running data-parallel programs. A Dryad programmer can use thousands of machines, each of them with multiple processors or cores, without knowing anything about concurrent programming. A full description is available (PDF).

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.