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Intel: "code for thousands of cores"

Intel: "code for thousands of cores"

Intel is advising devs that they need to start preparing for future CPUs featuring thousands of cores.

If you thought quad- and octo-core systems were pretty darn snazzy, Intel reckons you haven't seen anything yet.

According to an article posted on CNet's Nanotech blog the chip manufacturer is encouraging software developers to concentrate on optimising their code for multi-core systems – thousands of cores, in fact.

Posting to a blog on Monday Anwar Ghuloum, a principal engineer at Intel's Microprocessor Technology Lab, stated that his department often has to talk to external developers regarding the need to scale software performance to multiple cores - “dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of cores are not unusual design points around which the conversations meander.” While he describes this as “difficult news” to deliver to customers, he claims to be seeing more and more developers moving away from doing “the minimal amount of work they need to do to tap dual- and quad-core performance” and toward actually thinking about where the future of desktop computing technology lies.

Ghuloum goes on to state that “ultimately, the advice I’ll offer is that these developers should start thinking about tens, hundreds, and thousands of cores now in their algorithmic development and deployment pipeline.” Bad news for hard-working developers, but a promising development for end users looking forward to harnessing petaflop-power desktop systems in the none-too-distant future.

It's not all idle threats, either: the research time has had an 80-core processor to play with since 2007, so the possibility of commercial products with at least a hundred cores within the next few years is not to be ruled out.

Have you been disappointed since moving to quad-core at how few applications are coded to take advantage of the extra power under the hood, or are you just pleased at how nippy multitasking became? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

23 Comments

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liratheal 2nd July 2008, 08:59 Quote
I'll be more interested when developers can use more than one effectively :/

Until then, more than two or four is completely redundant. Hell, four is probably OTT considering the lack of proper use all four get.
Xir 2nd July 2008, 09:03 Quote
How is the game situation?

Are dualcores (or even quad) utilized yet?

And please don't answer "yeah, i've got the system running on one core, and the game on the other" I mean are games utilizing both (or all three/four) cores by now?
Nuffenburger 2nd July 2008, 09:14 Quote
yeh but imagine the capabilities.... rofl.
i say bring them out... nobody will buy them but hey they will make the price of the quad extremes go down rofl.
i got a dual core atm. but its not the best. i just cant wait til they bring out something decent that will overclock to more than 10ghz yet stay as cool as a fridge.
introduce a new overclocking system or something.
they should be atleast 5ghz stock by now.


-burgerman
iwod 2nd July 2008, 10:28 Quote
Muti Core - ( Tens / Hundred of Cores ) sounds to me just like the MHz race.
I think IPC and Mhz are still very important and should grow in both direction.

Instead of simple just add HUGE amount of core.
Kúsař 2nd July 2008, 11:18 Quote
It sounds like "Let's learn how to thread CPU instructions!"
Timmy_the_tortoise 2nd July 2008, 12:12 Quote
I want my 100+ core Sandy Bridge NOW.... despite the fact that over 90% of it's processing power won't be utilised.
stephen2002 2nd July 2008, 12:30 Quote
If Intel pushes developers in this direction the GPU makers are going to be very happy. They already have processors with hundreds of cores. If the OS can run quickly on a CPU with hundreds of low-speed cores then why use the CPU at all?
Timmy_the_tortoise 2nd July 2008, 12:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen2002
If Intel pushes developers in this direction the GPU makers are going to be very happy. They already have processors with hundreds of cores. If the OS can run quickly on a CPU with hundreds of low-speed cores then why use the CPU at all?

What about a CPU with hundreds of high speed cores? Not to mention it'll be x86, far more flexible.
mrb_no1 2nd July 2008, 12:58 Quote
For those who posted up top, i know that supreme commander utilizes 3 cores, not massively efficiently and it could do with using 4 cores imo as game time still slips down to 1 game second=1.5 real life seconds. Some people had mentioned crysis' with its extra physics being a burden, but i have no experience with crysis so i couldnt comment on that....i think the fact of the matter is that cpu development is running too far ahead of software developers, especially when games take years to make...

peace

fatman
Timmy_the_tortoise 2nd July 2008, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrb_no1
For those who posted up top, i know that supreme commander utilizes 3 cores, not massively efficiently and it could do with using 4 cores imo as game time still slips down to 1 game second=1.5 real life seconds. Some people had mentioned crysis' with its extra physics being a burden, but i have no experience with crysis so i couldnt comment on that....i think the fact of the matter is that cpu development is running too far ahead of software developers, especially when games take years to make...

peace

fatman

I thought Crysis' multi-core usage was supposed to be very disappointing.. It was supposed to use a whole 4 core CPU, but only ended up using 2 cores at any one time.
MrMonroe 2nd July 2008, 15:04 Quote
Excuses, excuses...

Plenty of applications could never be designed to be multi-threaded. There's lots of math that can only be done one step at a time, and passing the potato around from one core to the next with each step won't improve speed one bit. (though it might keep the thing cooler)
badders 2nd July 2008, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
I thought Crysis' multi-core usage was supposed to be very disappointing.. It was supposed to use a whole 4 core CPU, but only ended up using 2 cores at any one time.


The Crysis Demo definitely did not use 4 cores effectively.

However, Assassin's Creed PC and Race Driver:GRiD do use 4 cores well. Assassin's creed is particularly well balanced across 4 processors.
leexgx 2nd July 2008, 16:54 Quote
very sure supreme commander is dual threaded as see CPU use when this game is running you add the 3 other cores up that tends to = 1 core, there are programs i think that you can run to make the supreme commander threads run on other cores
LordPyrinc 2nd July 2008, 21:28 Quote
Agree with all those that want better multi-core support. Apps still in development and in the future need to be able to scale better to a multi core environment, whether it be 2, 3, 4 ... x number of cores.
E.E.L. Ambiense 2nd July 2008, 21:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
I'll be more interested when developers can use more than one effectively :/

Until then, more than two or four is completely redundant. Hell, four is probably OTT considering the lack of proper use all four get.

I guess a good analogy for this would be having more than two testicles: It'd be nice, but you only really need two. :D
DXR_13KE 2nd July 2008, 21:43 Quote
our brain is massively parallel and slow frequency... i wonder what will be the capabilities of the new cpus in AI and other areas.....
Yemerich 3rd July 2008, 00:53 Quote
Hmmm i didn't knew GOLLUM works for intel
dr-strangelove 3rd July 2008, 01:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
our brain is massively parallel and slow frequency... i wonder what will be the capabilities of the new cpus in AI and other areas.....

'Intel core 600 4.0GHz processor, guaranteed not to attempt world domination or your money back'
Xir 3rd July 2008, 08:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrb_no1
as game time still slips down to 1 game second=1.5 real life seconds.

...is this still the old "core times out of sync" problem that the first AMD dual-cores had? I'd thought that issue had been rooted out since the 2nd gen x2 processors...

Remember the "I've got a dual core and every time i start a game i go into taskmanager and manually assign a single core...no now we've got a tool that does this automatically..cooool"?
Made me buy a quicker clocked single core at the time :D

But as I said, this is ancient history, right?
Nexxo 3rd July 2008, 12:55 Quote
Perhaps a real trick would be to make a multi-core CPU pretend to be a really fast single core CPU as far as the software is concerned. Keep the resource distribution internal. But I suspect that would not be possible, given the general linear nature of most programs.
ParaHelix.org 6th July 2008, 00:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Perhaps a real trick would be to make a multi-core CPU pretend to be a really fast single core CPU as far as the software is concerned. Keep the resource distribution internal. But I suspect that would not be possible, given the general linear nature of most programs.

Either extreme single cores or dual core compatibility is what we need at this time, I mean, look at Nvidia's latest move from the 9800 series to the 200 series, the 200's are just a real powerful single core so it seems they are attempting to be more compatible with current games.
Ramble 6th July 2008, 01:10 Quote
Agreed, thousands of cores are pointless since most programs are linear they'll get barely any use.
No reason they can't be used as one big core though right? Strip it down and it's basically double the number of processors, registers, etc.
Cthippo 8th July 2008, 04:07 Quote
According to Task manager, I currently have 37 processes running on jy dual CPU machine. I have to thnk that it would ba faster if each of those 37 processes were running on it's own core, even if they were all single-threaded.
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