InfoWorld reports multi-core processors are still a major challenge for the software industry, as few applications are properly optimized for parallel computing. This is a big problem, as Intel and AMD are adding more and more cores to their processors.
Off-the-shelf applications will often run faster on CPUs with up to four processor cores, but beyond that performance levels off and may even deteriorate as more cores are added, he said. A recent report from Gartner also highlighted the problem.
Chip makers and system builders have begun efforts to educate developers and provide them with better tools for multicore programming. A year ago, Intel and Microsoft said they would invest $20 million to open two research centers at U.S. universities devoted to tackling the problem. The lack of multicore programming tools for mainstream developers is perhaps the biggest challenge the industry faces today, Gwennap said.
Writing applications in a way that lets different parts of a computing task, such as solving a math problem or rendering an image, be divided up and executed simultaneously across multiple cores is not new. But this model, often called parallel computing, has been limited so far mainly to specialized, high-performance computing environments..