February 13th, 2007
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[Ed] Does massively multicore hardware demand new programming languages and paradigms?
[Cliff] In some cases, yes. In the case of Azul, no. Standard Java code runs unmodified on our systems. For programmers who want to write to the specific instruction sets of these new multicore designs, such as IBM Cell and others, yes, they need the specific instructions to do so. Java applications are masked from the specific instructions of the Vega processor by the Azul Virtual Machine. Just write standard Java code, load it into our VM and you are off and running.
[Ed's note: In fact, Azul changed the instruction set between Vega 1 and Vega 2 to help get a 300% boost in speed over the one they showed at JavaOne. But since all application code is in Java, there was no need to recompile it to run on the new machine.]