Alumnus Doug Burger, who earned both his MS and PhD in computer sciences at UW-Madison, was recently featured in WIRED for his work at Microsoft Research--specifically, an endeavor called Project Catapult. "There are large challenges in scaling the performance of software now," Burger told WIRED. "The question is, what's next? We took a bet on programmable hardware." Read the WIRED story from June 16, 2014, by Robert McMillan.
You can also read Microsoft's own coverage of this topic, including a brief video interview with Burger.