48 Intel cores on a single research chip, helps software research
How many cores can we use? The answer in my opinion is MANY and when software uses many cores... amazing things will happen. Perhaps what we need to see visionary demos are some"futuristic chips" to experiment on...
Intel's CEO, Justin Rattner, showed a vision of the future with very impressive demos of Intel Lab's "Single-chip Cloud Computer" (SCC). Made of 48 cores it is the largest collection of Intel cores put on a single piece of silicon so far! They are hooked together in network that mimics cloud computing on a chip level, and support highly parallel "scale-out" programming models. All using the usual tools... Intel, Microsoft, gnu compilers, Intel analysis tools, and libraries from Intel and others. It's "just x86" cores... and that is very powerful when we want to get busy programming!
Intel Labs plans to build at least a hundred experimental chips for use by dozens of research collaborators around the world with the goal of developing new software applications and programming models for future manycore processors.
The 48 core concept chip consists of 1.3 billion transistors on a 45nm Hi-K chip and can manage its power to range from 25W to 125W when in full use. The power controls are fine grained and able to selectively vary to voltage and frequency of the mesh and sets of cores.
Jim Held, in his blog, said "We believe SCC is an ideal test-bed to explore parallel programming approaches for the mainstream as well as how the Cloud computing performance could be improved with an on-die architecture that reflects the larger Cloud. Microsoft Research is demonstrating how Visual Studio can be modified for development of a message passing application on SCC. Intel Labs has demonstrating the implementation of a microcosm of a Cloud datacenter on chip, with Linux on each core, running an application using Hadoop. We're also showing demonstrations of message-passing as well as of software-based coherent shared memory SCC."
There are more postings on this to read more:
- Jim Held's blog "Exploring programming models with the Single-chip Cloud Computer research prototype" http://blogs.intel.com/research/2009/12/sccloudcomp.php
- videos, photos, press release, list of concepts for usage: http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/2009/20091202comp_sm.htm
The future is Parallelism, and lots of it!