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article image100 processors on a single chip? MIT genius says yes

By Sean Fraser     Jan 25, 2012 in Technology
Westborough - Anant Agarwal, the director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), has announced that he has successfully mounted 100 microprocessors on one chip.
A microchip's processors, or cores, are what run a computer's programs. Currently, state of the art computers have processors with 16 cores. However, Agarwal's chip has over 100. His Tilera line of processors come in 16, 32, and 64 core varieties as well. Here are some videos explaining how microchips are manufactured. reported on Agarwal's dream of making more efficient and energy conservative chips for servers. By placing more cores on a chip, the chip becomes faster and more efficient, as energy has more places to travel and less room in between places.
Agarwal's Tilera line will come in handy to some Internet giants, like Google and Facebook, who are currently building their own servers.
The Tilera project received funding from an MIT program called RAW, funded by DARPA and the NSF, which was responsible for the first 16 core chips back in 2002. The main goal of the project is to create what Agarwal calls a "mesh network" of processors with communication switches, called tiles. Agarwal states:
Before that you had the concept of a bunch of processors hanging off of a bus, and a bus tends to be a real bottleneck. With a mesh, every processor gets a switch and they all talk to each other…. You can think of it as a peer-to-peer network.
Agarwal is also leading the effort of another DARPA-funded project, called the Angstrom Project, which is looking to develop chips with 1,000 cores. The Tilera 100 core processors are scheduled to ship later this year.
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