Great blog on What would you do with 80 cores? by Sean Koehl, an Intel researcher. This is one of my longer-lasting hobby-horses - I find the argument that we will eventually run out of steam on single processor architectures quite persuasive, and I would love to have a go at programming the 80-core teraflops research chip (is it as similar to the transputer in spirit as it appears to be?).
My hunch is that when and if explicitly parallel processing has taken off, the wave of change that this generates will open a window for optical computing, which has enormous potential for analogue and digital parallel processing.
In the mean time I'm learning Erlang as a background recreation - it's always good to give the grey-cells a work-out.