While the technology remains a research vehicle, features will show in future chips.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.-While
Intel still has no current plans to bring its tera-scale processors into the
commercial market, some of the technologies that the company's research teams
have been developing for an 80-core processor might appear within the next two
At Intel's Research Day here, Jerry Bautista, director of technology
management for Intel's Microprocessor Research Laboratory, described the ways
his researchers are working to bring some of the developments of the company's
tera-scale project into future generations of Intel chips.
Intel first detailed its prototype tera-scale processor, running at 3.16GHz
and offering a teraflop-or 1 trillion calculations per second-of
late 2006 and early 2007.
While the company has no formal plans to bring
this type of chip into the commercial market, Bautista said the company's
researchers are still testing the limits of what they created.
"We are still probing, learning, working," he told eWEEK. "Once we have
a good research vehicle like that, we keep beating on it and trying different
things, so that is still getting lots of work internally."
While an 80-core chip remains experimental, Bautista said some of the
hardware and software technologies his research team has been developing will
first appear in Intel's Larrabee processor.
which is scheduled for release in 2009 or 2010, will combine a CPU and a GPU
(graphics processing unit) on a single piece of silicon and likely enter the
high-performance computing market first before making its way into more
mainstream computing. Advanced Micro Devices is also looking to combine an x86
CPU with a GPU in a project called Accelerated Computing.
One problem with these types of multicore processors, whether it's a future
Xeon processor, Larrabee or the 80-core prototype, is development applications
that can take advantage of all the processing cores.
To help bridge some of that gap, Bautista said the company has been
taking applications meant for tera-scale computing, such as ray tracing-a way
of developing by tracing a path of light through pixels-and facial recognition,
and importing those into the SDK (software development kit) that the company is
developing for Larrabee. The SDK will also allow programmers to debug
applications in parallel environments and write code for multiple instructional