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Hurts my brain: Intel’s 80-core processor

February 12, 2007

Intel showed off an 80-CORE processor used as part of a research project last week. Considering I’m just getting used to the happiness of a Intel dual-core processor at home, I can’t even wrap my mind around how great the 80-core would be.

CNET says Intel is promising the commercial version of the chip in FIVE years. I’ll have to start saving now…

But can current computer programmers HANDLE this much power? CNET says it’s possible:

But the primary challenge for an 80-core chip will be figuring out how to write software that can take advantage of all that horsepower. The PC software community is just starting to get its hands around multicore programming, although its server counterparts are a little further ahead. Still, Microsoft, Apple and the Linux community have a long way to go before they’ll be able to effectively utilize 80 individual processing units with their PC operating systems.

“The operating system has the most control over the CPU, and it’s got to change,” said Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat. “It has to be more intelligent about breaking things up,” he said, referring to how tasks are divided among multiple processing cores.

“I think we’re sort of all moving forward here together,” Rattner said. “As the core count grows and people get the skills to use them effectively, these applications will come.” Intel hopes to make it easier by training its army of software developers on creating tools and libraries, he said.

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