November 20, 2008

Multicore Is Bad News For Supercomputers

With no other way to improve the performance of processors further, chip makers have staked their future on putting more and more processor cores on the same chip. Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, in New Mexico, have simulated future high-performance computers containing the 8-core, 16ââ¬âcore, and 32-core microprocessors that chip makers say are the future of the industry. The results are distressing. Because of limited memory bandwidth and memory-management schemes that are poorly suited to supercomputers, the performance of these machines would level off or even decline with more cores. The performance is especially bad for informatics applicationsââ¬âdata-intensive programs that are increasingly crucial to the labsââ¬â¢ national security function.



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