An anonymous reader writes "It has been all over the news today: AMD announced the first of its Extensions for Software Parallelism, a series of x86 extensions to make parallel programming easier. The first are the so-called 'lightweight profiling extensions.' They would give software access to information about cache misses and retired instructions so data structures can be optimized for better performance. The specification is here (PDF). These extensions have a much wider applicability than just parallel programming — they could be used to accelerate Java, .Net, and dynamic optimizers." AMD gave no timeframe for when these proposed extensions would show up in silicon.