John Markoff on Manycore computing
John Markoff writes Faster Chips Are Leaving Programmers in Their Dust.
Many microprocessors now have multiple cores, but the software industry has not figured out how to effectively use a large number of computing engines. (The term “manycore” implies eight or more processing cores.)
The potential speed of chips is still climbing, but now the software they run is having trouble keeping up. Newer chips with multiple processors require dauntingly complex software that breaks up computing chores into chunks that can be processed at the same time.
The challenges have not dented the enthusiasm for the potential of the new parallel chips at Microsoft, where executives are betting that the arrival of manycore chips — processors with more than eight cores, possible as soon as 2010 — will transform the world of personal computing.
The company is mounting a major effort to improve the parallel computing capabilities in its software.