Intel creates 80-core processors

Intel’s researchers have produced an 80-core chip that uses less energy than a quad-core processor and has teraflop performance capabilities.

Researchers have built the prototype to study how best to make that many cores communicate with each other. They’re also studying new designs for cores and new architectural techniques, according to Manny Vara, a technology strategist with Intel’s R&D labs. The chip is just for research purposes and lacks some necessary functionality at this point, but Vara says Intel will be able to produce a chip with 80 cores in five to eight years.

The chip is being called the Tera-Scale Teraflop Prototype. Intel is planning on releasing specifics about the research project at the 2007 International Solid State Circuits Conference in early February.

With that many cores, Intel is able to design what Vara calls “core hopping.” If one part of the chip gets hot, the work that those particular cores are doing is moved to other cores on another part of the chip. That, he explains, will lower the heat being generated.

“We’re quite literally creating a network mesh to let each little core communicate with the other cores and the rest of the system,” says Vara. “The cores will want to know what the other cores will doing so they don’t fight.”


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