Intel Corp. (www.intel.com) formally announced the release of its long-awaited Itanium 64-bit processor on May 29 - together with support from Windows hardware offerings from about 30 vendors, and some 400 applications already in development.
Key to adoption of 64-bit computing will be increased data size. For example, the initial Windows for Itanium offering has virtual memory of 16 terabytes (TB), compared to 4 Gbytes on 32-bit Windows; paging file size of 512 compared to 16 TB; paged pool of 128 Gbytes compared to 470 Mbytes; non-paged pool of 128 Gbytes compared to 256 Mbytes, and a system cache of 1 TB, compared to 1 Gbytes for the 32-bit version. The first Itanium chip, available in hardware that is shipping in June, is targeted to enterprise and technical applications-including mechanical computer-aided engineering analysis. A second, more powerful and flexible version will be released late in 2001.
Both Itanium and its Windows support were demonstrated at Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, CA on May 22. Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com), which helped to
design the Itanium architecture-Explicitly Parallel Intensive Computing (EPIC)-participated in the event and will release both a workstation (HP i2000) and server (HPrx4610) next month. Event participants that will soon debut application software running on Itanium platforms included UGS with Unigraphics 18 (www.ugs.com), Alias/Wavefront (www.aliaswavefront.com), MSC.Software (www.mscsoftware.com) for MSC.Marc, and SAS (www.sas.com).
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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