Intel shows 80-core ‘supercomputing chip’ with low power consumption

Intel has demonstrated an energy efficient 80-core chip with supercomputing performance.

Intel has demonstrated an energy efficient 80-core chip with supercomputing performance.

The chip is a result of the company’s “Tera-scale computing” research aimed at delivering Teraflops - or trillions of calculations per second -performance for future PCs and servers.

Technical details of the Teraflops research chip will be presented at the annual Integrated Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) this week in San Francisco.

Intel said Tera-scale performance, and the ability to move terabytes of data, will play a pivotal role in future computers with ubiquitous access to the internet, powering new applications for education and collaboration, as well as enabling the rise of high-definition entertainment on PCs, servers and handheld devices.

Intel said using such chips would support artificial intelligence, instant video communications, photo-realistic games, multimedia data mining and real-time speech recognition.

The Teraflops research chip - Intel has no plans to bring the exact design to market - will support the firm’s approach to new silicon design methods, high-bandwidth interconnection solutions and energy management.

Justin Rattner, Intel chief technology officer, said, “This chip points the way to the near future, when Teraflops-capable designs will be commonplace and reshape what we can all expect from our computers and the internet at home and in the office.”

The first time Teraflops performance was achieved was in 1996, on the ASCI Red Supercomputer built by Intel for the Sandia National Laboratory.

That computer took up more than 2,000 square feet, was powered by nearly 10,000 Pentium Pro processors, and consumed over 500 kilowatts of electricity. Intel’s research chip achieves this same performance on a tiny multi-core chip.

The 80-core research chip also achieves teraflops performance while consuming only 62 watts – less than many single-core processors today.

The chip features an innovative tile design in which smaller cores are replicated as “tiles,” making it easier to design a chip with many cores.

The Teraflops chip also features a mesh-like “network-on-a-chip” architecture that allows super-high bandwidth communications between the cores and is capable of moving Terabits of data per second inside the chip.

The Intel research around the chip also investigated methods to power cores on and off independently, so only the ones needed to complete a task are used, thus providing more energy efficiency.

Related article: IBM joins race to build new generation of chips

Link to Intel

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