Intel: "code for thousands of cores"

July 2, 2008 // 8:21 a.m.

Tags: #dual-core #intel #multi-core #octo #octo-core #parallelism #parallel-processing #programming #quad #quad-core

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.

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