Stanford University has mounted some gun turrets to its Ivory Towers. Just a few weeks after rival UC Berkeley revealed a mega-funding engagement with Microsoft and Intel around multi-threaded software, Stanford has returned fire by grabbing money from just about every other vendor on the planet with interest in improving code …
Six million dollars and they wish to achieve all that? Working on so many different areas for so many clients takes real skill, to avoid wasting lots of money on internal project management overheads.
I'm glad to hear these efforts are being funded. But it is interesting that we expect university professors to solve these software systems problems, not an area where academia has really been a leader. See for example Rob Pike's famous polemic: http://doc.cat-v.org/bell_labs/utah2000/
With regard to virtual reality, this is especially true. Years of academic research has been almost worthless, compared to what has been achieved by game developers.
The reason this grant is good is because it will benefit students and their education, not because college professors are ever going to make significant practical inventions.