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Researchers break multi-core CPU bottleneck

by Mark Tyson on 31 October 2016, 16:31

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qadalm

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Researchers from Intel and at North Carolina State University have been looking into the problem of sub-optimal communication between microprocessor cores. The last decade has seen chipmakers shift strategy from faster-and-faster to more-and-more cores in search of performance improvements. Dual-core and quad-core chips have shown great benefits in modern PCs and devices, however scaling beyond to 8, 10, 16, or more cores provides diminishing returns. Worse still, poorly optimised software can lead to further speed-impacting hotspots on multi-core processors.

The problem is down to the need for the CPU cores to communicate with each other to work in concert - but this process brings significant overhead with the proliferation of cores, explains a recent report published by IEEE Spectrum.

One possible solution, devised by Intel and at NC State scientists, is moving the software queue to hardware. As explained in the above linked report, "This effectively turned three multistep ­software-queue operations into three simple instructions: Add data to the queue, take data from the queue, and put data close to where it's going to be needed next." In practical use a hardware queue management device (QMD) noticeably sped up tasks using data processing simulations. With QMD more cores show stronger gains – a 16 core CPU with QMD performed 20 times faster, for example. Furthermore, as the QMD is capable of simple computational functions it can aggregate data from multiple cores, expediting some basic computational functions.

Interestingly the researchers tested expanding the QMD logic to handle other core-communications-dependent functions and got good results. This shows that moving frequently used software elements to hardware to find a sweet spot seems worthwhile going forward. Whether QMD logic will be added to future Intel processors is uncertain but Intel is spending money researching this tech, so it looks positive for the future as processors gain more and more cores.



HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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I read about this not long ago, it sounds really promising.

Of course if Intel pioneer it and implement it into the Xeon line it'll be another leap forward that AMD can't make itself, pushing the gap between em into a chasm, and that means Intel will continue to lead with no real competitor
Tunnah
Of course if Intel pioneer it and implement it into the Xeon line it'll be another leap forward that AMD can't make itself, pushing the gap between em into a chasm, and that means Intel will continue to lead with no real competitor

It's a vicious circle…if people don't buy your product then you can't afford to innovate so people don't buy your product so you can't afford to innovate….

AMD need to pull one out of the bag with both their GPU and CPU businesses to start taking back market share.
QMD is a good idea but dont be surprised AMD to come up with the quantum processor for domestic use
frozen-monkey
It's a vicious circle…if people don't buy your product then you can't afford to innovate so people don't buy your product so you can't afford to innovate…

Back in the day there were a few companies that produced “clones”. Chips and chipsets that were compatible with Intel/IBM kit. They didn't need to cover the costs of R&D as they weren't producing anything innovative, so they could compete on price.

Unfortunately Intel aggressively prices it's entry level chips too, top-loading the pricing on their high performance components that AMD can't touch.
Back in the day when nvidia competed with intel on motherboards…