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).