Researchers at the University of California (UC) Davis have designed a KiloCore microchip that contains 1,000 processors.
Bevan Baas, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Davis who led the team that designed the microchip, touts that the KiloCore is the first 1,000-processor chip in the world, and it is also the highest clock-rate processor designed in a university.
Researchers have created multiple-processor chips, but none of them exceed 300 processors. Baas revealed that most of the multiple-processor chips were created just for research, and only a few were sold commercially. The latest KiloCore chip has been made by IBM and based on the company's 32-nanometer CMOS technology.
It is worth noting that 32-nanometer technique is very old, and most of the modern processors are made with a smaller and more efficient 14-nanometer technology.
Each of the 1,000 cores can run independently, which researchers suggest is a more flexible method than Single-Instruction-Multiple-Data approach that is utilized by processors such as GPUs. Breaking applications in smaller pieces means that they can run on different processors and enable high output with low energy use.
Being independently clocked, each processor can also shut down independently and save power when not required. The researchers suggest that a single AA battery is enough to power the KiloCore.
"Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data," says UC Davis.
Baas claims that the KiloCore is the most energy-efficient multiple-core processor. The researchers suggest that the chip has the ability to execute 115 billion instructions per second using only 0.7 Watts. Baas also advocates that the 1,000-core chip has the capability of executing instructions over 100 times efficiently in comparison to a processor found on a laptop.
The KiloCore can be used for coding or decoding data, encryption of data, video processing and processing of large amounts of data. The 1,000-core chip can be very useful for processing records in datacenters.
Even though the KiloCore has great potential and usability, it is very unlikely that it will go in mass production in the near term. The popularity of smartphones has been increasing enormously in the last few years. Mobile devices such as tablets are also replacing PCs in many industries.
People use smartphones and tablets more often than PCs, which makes it very likely for many-core processors to be used in mobile devices.