Posted on 10-11-2008
Filed Under (Engineering, School Work) by Steven on 10-11-2008

The article, “Multicore Is Bad News For Supercomputers published November 2008 in the IEEE Spectrum, introduced some interesting points that are very significant for the future of computers. The main motivation for this article is the fact that current processor engineers have been reaching what people feel are plateaus in the technology and the only way to increase processor performance further is to add more and more processors together. This article details on a high level the performance of computers as multiple cores are added to the same system. Adding additional cores to multi-core systems does not necessarily mean an enhancement in overall speed or processing power.

The article notes that adding more processors doesn’t speed up the process specifically for informatics processing requiring very large data processing with requiring large databases of information. For many circumstances like solving differential equations the calculation can be split up into “grids” so that the physical location of the multiple processors can handle the data in their corresponding grid, and so the multiple cores are able to perform separately and achieve faster results. Nevertheless, there are increasing instances that in data processing in large systems require data being processed from another core, creating dependencies that slow down the overall system. Adding more core processors only splits the process up more and creates more dependencies on other cores.

Another problem is that the multi-core is limited by the surrounding architecture and this traditional architecture standard that computer manufacturers have been implementing for years is not adequate for the large multi-core processors. There are significant bottlenecks in the memory, bus, and peripheral communication that create limits to the amount of data that the processors can actually receive, leaving the processors to waste time waiting for the data to arrive.

According to the sources cited in the article after about 8 multi-cores there is no significant increase in performance and it actually can level off or decrease depending on the situation. This has caused the government to form an organization to research and communicate with hardware developers to create new standards that can be followed in the next 5 to 10 years that will allow for a new breed of computers that can really utilize the power of multiple processing cores.

This article actually proves the point of staying on top of current news and information in technology. The only way advancements can really be made is if we are always on the cutting edge of technology increasing our boundaries and keeping up on the future. Without understanding the future of technology current development could leave out critical pieces that will only slow down the ever increasing pace and need for growth in all industries.

All it requires stay informed with the advances and issues is setting up a few methods of easily receiving new information. A few methods include: adding the IEEE spectrum feed to a frequented feed reader, reading the news of some favorite companies and industries, and continuing education both in traditional classroom methods and industry seminar style information sessions.

By Steven Hansen

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