What would software look like if it were designed from scratch with dependability and trustworthiness as the primary goal?
That’s the question Microsoft Research’s Galen Hunt, Jim Larus, and a team of colleagues asked themselves when they embarked on an ambitious research project in 2003. Five years later, they’re ready to propose an answer: It would look like Singularity, a new system-architecture and operating system built on advances in programming languages and tools.
Hunt, a principal researcher and manager of Microsoft Research Redmond’s Operating Systems Group, and Larus, a research-area manager in the Software Improvement Group, aimed to rethink system design in light of many research advances and a changed computing environment. And now that Singularity has reached a useful level of stability and functionality, they think it’s time that other researchers in academia and industry have an opportunity to build on their research.
On March 4, Microsoft Research made the Singularity source code available at no charge for academic and non-commercial use by releasing it to CodePlex, an online portal created in 2006 to foster collaborative software-development projects and to host shared source code. Hunt and Larus hope the research prototype will be used as a laboratory for experimentation and innovation, much as it has been within Microsoft Research. Over the years, more than 40 Microsoft Research researchers and interns have collaborated on the project, which incorporated their ideas on security, programming languages, tools, and operating systems—and accelerated their own research.
Microsoft, Microsoft Research, Singularity, CodePlex