Microsoft and Intel have announced a new research initiative aimed at accelerating developments in a trend known as "parallel computing."

The initiative, which features the creation of two Universal Parallel Computing Research Centers on U.S. campuses, could have major implications for education and the way students use computers to learn.

Parallel computing separates complex procedures into discrete tasks to be completed simultaneously over multiple microprocessors, instead of using one processor to complete each task one after another--thereby allowing computers to work faster and more efficiently. Although Microsoft, Intel, and many others deliver hardware and software that is capable of handling dual-


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