June 17, 2007

Massive Multicore Processors

Researchers at Intel are working on ways to mask the intricate functionality of massive multicore chips to make it easier for computer makers and software developers to adapt to them.These multicore chips, he added, will also likely contain both x86 processing cores, similar to the brains inside the vast majority of Intel's server and PC chips today, as well as other types of cores. A 64-core chip, for instance, might contain 42 x86 cores, 18 accelerators and four embedded graphics cores.
Some labs and companies such as ClearSpeed Technology, Azul Systems and Riken have developed chips with large numbers of cores-ClearSpeed has one with 96 cores-but the cores are capable of performing certain types of operations.
Last year, Intel showed off a prototype chip with 80 computing cores. While the semiconductor world took note of the achievement, the practical questions immediately arose: Will the company come out with a multicore chip with x86 cores? Will these chips run existing software and operating systems? How do you solve data traffic, heat and latency problems?Intel's answer essentially is, yes, and we're working on it.