Intel warns multicore chips pose programming challenge

Multicore chips will help meet growing computing demands, but it could create more challenges for programmers writing code, according to a senior Intel executive.

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In 2007, about 40 percent of desktops, laptops and servers shipped with multicore processors. By 2011, about 90 percent of PCs shipping will be multicore systems. Almost all of Microsoft Windows Vista PCs shipping today are multicore, Davis said.

Intel is also working on an 80-core Polaris chip, which brings teraflops of performance.

"We're not only talking about terabit computing, but the terabyte sets [of data] we can manage." Davis said. Users are consuming and storing tremendous amounts of data now, and in a few years, the amount of data should reach zettabytes, Davis said.

The next "killer" application for multicore computing could be tools that enable the real-time collection, mining and analysis of data, Davis said. For example, military personnel using wearable multicore computers are able to simulate, analyse and synthesise data in real time to show how a situation will unfold. Doing so is viable and doesn't create risk for military personnel, Davis said.

"These types of applications have taken weeks to do ... now these types of applications are literally running in minutes," Davis said.

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