Chipmaker Intel has been investigating the issue of scaling the number of cores in chips through its Terascale Computing Research Program, which has so far yielded two experimental chips of 80 and 48 cores.
In November, Intel engineer Timothy Mattson caused a stir at the Supercomputer 2010 Conference when he told the audience that one of the Terascale chips--the 48-core Single-chip Cloud Computer (SCC)--could theoretically scale to 1,000 cores.
Mattson, who is a principal engineer at Intel's Microprocessor Technology Laboratory, talked to ZDNet UK about the reasoning behind his views and why--while a 1,000-core chip isn't on Intel's roadmap--the path to creating such a processor is now is visible.
Q: What would it take to build a 1,000-core processor?
Mattson: The challenge this presents to those of us in parallel computing at Intel is, if our fabs [fabrication department] could build a 1,000-core chip, do we have an architecture in hand that could scale that far? And if built, could that chip be effectively programmed?
The architecture used on the 48-core chip could indeed fit that bill....
Read more of "Intel: Why a 1,000-core chip is feasible" at ZDNet UK.