"I must agree with Eugenia that the current state of the art of OSes looks bleak.
For example, the limitations of the number of protected processes is usually way under 10,000. With new advanced object based systems the number of active threads will be in the millions
With clusters of cheap PC hardware running it's important for parallelization and security that programs be broken into small fragments each contained within it's own protected process space. This enables safe widespread grid computing with automatic process migration between computing nodes in a users trusted grid. This is a necessity to take advantage of N-CPU motherboards and awesome systems such as Cell computing (9 CPUs per chip), 64 bit computing (AMD-64 & Itanium, yes Itanium) and specialized multi-processors, but mostly to take advantage of massive numbers of cheap networked and clustered PCs."
The work i'll be doing this fall for a thesis in object migration with emerald addresses some of this stuff. the cell processor, mentioned above, in particular will be a an interesting piece of hardware to work with. software that aggregates webservices into a single application, and degrades and improves nicely as webservices come and go.