Quads are old news, 80 cores are what you really want

In addition to all the other hoopla at this weeks Intel Developers Forum (IDF) there was the announcement of Intel's Tera-scale Computing effort. Other than being on of the more over used HPC buzzwords, it does propose some interesting directions beyond, the current core race. As their white paper points out, you can't just keep slapping cores on the processor die. Interestingly, the 80 core processor design arranges cores in a grid and provides communication to four neighbors. Flashback to the Inmos Transputer.

All the cool hardware aside, the real issue is software. As soon as two or more cores/processors/servers etc get involved, there is a need to create parallel software. If you compared parallel software technology to today's hardware you would be looking a 80286 (maybe a 386 at best) processor. (And I'm not even going to get into scaling issues). A multi-core detente of sorts, as proposed by myself (see the October issue of Linux Magazine and Tom Yager at InfoWorld may be A Good Thing (tm) to consider.

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