Modeling the World

Technology is transforming our ability to measure, monitor and model how the world behaves. This has profound implications for scientific research and can transform the way we tackle global challenges such as health care and climate change. This transformation also will have a huge impact on engineering and business, delivering breakthroughs and discoveries that could lead to new products, new businesses – even new industries.  

Today, we’re proud to introduce Microsoft’s Technical Computing initiative, a new effort focused on empowering millions of the world’s smartest problem-solvers.  We’ve designed this initiative to bring supercomputing power and resources to a much wider group of the scientists, engineers and analysts who are using modeling and prediction to solve some of the world’s most difficult challenges.

Our goal is to create technical computing solutions that speed discovery, invention and innovation.  Soon, complicated tasks such building a sophisticated computer model – which would typically take a team of advanced software programmers months to build and days to run – will be accomplished in an afternoon by a single scientist, engineer or analyst.  Rather than grappling with complicated technology, they’ll be able to spend more time on important work.   

As part of this initiative we’re also bringing together some of the brightest minds in the technical computing community at to discuss the trends, challenges and opportunities we share. Personally, I think this site provides a great interactive experience with fresh, relevant content—I’m incredibly proud of it. Please tune in and join us—we welcome your ideas and feedback.

In terms of technology, the initiative will focus on three key areas:

  1. Technical computing to the cloud: Microsoft will help lead the way in giving scientists, engineers and analysts the computing power of the cloud.  We’re also working to give existing high-performance computing users the ability to augment their on-premises systems with cloud resources that enable ‘just-in-time’ processing. This platform will help ensure processing resources are available whenever they are needed—reliably, consistently and quickly.  
  2. Simplify parallel development: Today, computers are shipping with more processing power than ever, including multiple cores. But most modern software only uses a small amount of the available processing power. Parallel programs are extremely difficult to write, test, and troubleshoot.  We know that a consistent model for parallel programming can help more developers unlock the tremendous power in today’s computers and enable a new generation of technical computing. We’re focused on delivering new tools to automate and simplify writing software through parallel processing from the desktop… to the cluster… to the cloud.     
  3. Develop powerful new technical computing tools and applications: Scientists, engineers and analysts are pushing common tools (i.e., spreadsheets and databases) to the limits with complex, data-intensive models. They need easy access to more computing power using simpler tools to increase the speed of their work, and we’re building a platform with this objective in mind. We expect that these efforts will yield new, easy-to-use tools and applications that automate data acquisition, modeling, simulation, visualization, workflow and collaboration.

The path we’ve taken to arrive at this initiative is built on a foundation of great technology and underpinned by a strong vision for bringing the power of technical computing to those who need it most. Microsoft is committed to this business, and I am looking forward to working with our industry partners and customers to help bring about the next wave of discovery. 

Posted by Bill Hilf
General Manager, Technical Computing