Intel outlines 1,000-core processor

Single-chip Cloud Computer architecture aimed at future data centres

Stewart Mitchell
22 Nov 2010

Intel has laid out plans for a 1,000-core processor that it claims could change the way data centres are run.

The chip maker has long been committed to multi-core processing as the best way to squeeze more functionality from silicon, but a 1,000-core device is ambitious even by Intel's standards.

The chips could, the company claimed, be built on the “Single-chip Cloud Computer” architecture that the company had previously demonstrated was capable of handling 48-cores on a single processor.

According to Intel, which announced the SCC architecture earlier this year, the technology incorporates features specifically intended to scale for multi-core processors, such as an on-chip network, advanced power management technologies and support for “message-passing” between cores.

The result, the company says, is an architecture that is “arbitrarily scalable”.

“This is an architecture that could scale to 1,000 cores,” Intel researcher Timothy Mattson told an audience at the Supercomputing 2010 conference. “I can just keep adding cores.”

The architecture contains a mesh of tiles, two processor cores per tile, off-chip private memory for each core, shared off-chip memory and a shared on-chip message passing buffer.

After 1,000 cores it would become increasingly difficult to interconnect all the cores on the processor without impacting performance, according to Mattson.

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