We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Microsoft unveils new OS called Singularity

'Concept-car OS' designed for researchers

Microsoft has unveiled a prototype operating system called Singularity, describing the new software as "a concept-car OS".

Rick Rashid, general director of Microsoft Research, said the company is making Singularity available free to the academic and research communities in the hope that they'll use it to develop new kinds of computer architectures.

It's difficult for the academic community to experiment with computer architectures, he said. Singularity is designed to make it easier for researchers to test how OSes and applications interact with each other, he said.

"It's a new system built from the ground up, with the specific goal of being more reliable," Rashid said. Microsoft hopes that Singularity will help improve software reliability and boost research in programming languages and tools.

Singularity is available on Microsoft's CodePlex website. It was unveiled on Tuesday at TechFest, Microsoft's annual showcase of projects from its research division.

Rashid also showed off BEE3, a hardware project that Microsoft designed with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley to let researchers experiment with computer architectures. "The idea behind it is to build a computer system that is configurable," Rashid said. "You can program this computer to be another computer or do another kind of architecture or experiment with new kinds of algorithms," he said.

Rashid and his colleagues are demonstrating technologies that Microsoft's research group is working on. Some of the projects ultimately contribute to Microsoft products but others, such as vaccine design and quantum computing, often seem irrelevant to the software giant's core business.

Still, Rashid said that the best return on any investment that Microsoft makes consistently comes from its investment in Microsoft Research. The group generates about a quarter of the company's patents, he said.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

Hands-on with Sony's latest smartglasses

IDG UK Sites

Apple TV expert tips: get US Apple TV content, watch Google Play, use multiple Apple IDs and more