EE Times reports there's a lot of debate about the implementation of multicore processors:
Microprocessor engineers agree multi-core designs will be the wave of the future, but they differ widely on how to implement them and surmount the many challenges they pose.
That was the conclusion from an evening panel on the topic at the International Solid State Circuits Conference here Wednesday (Feb 5). The panel gathered senior chip designers from Advanced Micro Devices, IBM, Intel, Renesas, Sun Microsystems and startup Tilera.
Chuck Moore, an AMD senior fellow, made the case for the shift to a new software model based on heterogeneous collections of cores optimized for various tasks. He suggested computers should be more like cellphones, using a variety of specialty cores to run modular software scheduled by a high-level applications programming interface.
"We foresee a move from compatibility based on instruction set architecture to compatibility based on an API," said Moore. "You get an order of magnitude better power efficiency by going to heterogeneous cores. Already Microsoft's DirectX APIs tackle a wide variety of graphics processors, so this is a mature software model," he added.
Atsushi Hasegawa, a senior chief engineer at Renesas, generally agreed. He suggested the cellphone's use of many specialty cores working in concert is a good model for future multi-core designs.