Intel and Microsoft are savvy enough to know you cannot schedule a breakthrough. Both companies have put competing internal teams in place on difficult projects in the past.
Either top management at these companies fails to fully appreciate the magnitude of the technology hurdle they face, or they are hoping for breakthrough research on the cheap. Either way, they need to step up or be dragged to the plate.
It's not just Wintel that has skin in this game, although these highly profitable companies have plenty of it.
The handful of remaining big computer makers in the industry need to weigh in soon. Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems survived round after round of consolidation in this industry that left HP as the world's largest technology companies by some measures.
Some of these companies may not survive the next big round of consolidation if the parallel breakthrough doesn't come and industry growth stalls. Despite that fact, I have not seen any of them show much leadership on this topic yet. I count ITRI, the research arm of Taiwan Inc., as one of the potentially players in this effort.
Many others have a lot at stake here including Google. The Wall Street darling might not be such an attractive whistle stop for the 2020 presidential campaigns if its data centers begin to bog down as they try to sort through growing piles of Web data and video.
Oracle needs to step into this spotlight as well. It has tried to consolidate the enterprise software world around its Redwood Shores headquarters. Now it needs to take a similarly sized stake in this industry problem.
It's not just a problem for mainstream computing. The parallel computing breakthrough will be needed to stoke the mobile Web that the cellular industry sees as its next big growth engine.
Plenty of people in the cellular industry have in-depth understanding about running software across multiple cores on handsets and big back-end base stations. They need to be part of the solution.
Someone also needs to take responsibility for mapping into mainstream computing all the good work on parallel programming going on in high-performance computing, especially the work in the HPCS program under DARPA.
There's plenty of room for plenty of stakeholders to weigh in on this problem with plenty of promising ideas. The only thing that does not exist in abundance is time.