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article imageWorld's first 1000-core processor can be powered by an AA battery

By James Walker     Jun 20, 2016 in Technology
Researchers have unveiled the world's first 1,000-core processor chip. Dubbed the "KiloCore," the supercomputing chip is capable of running 1.78 trillion instructions every second and is built from a record-breaking 621 million transistors.
The KiloCore was presented last week at the 2016 Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Honolulu. Developed by a team at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Davis, the chip has the most independently programmable processors ever placed onto a single piece of silicon.
The previous record holder had 300 cores, according to research conducted by Professor Bevan Baas, leader of KiloCore's design team. KiloCore has over three times as many cores, each running at an average maximum clock speed frequency of 1.78 GHz. "To the best of our knowledge, it is the world's first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university," said Baas.
The processor was fabricated using IBM's 32nm CMOS technology. Similarly to other very large multicore CPUs, the chip is intended for research operations. It could be used for applications including wireless coding and decoding, video processing, encryption and other operations involving large amounts of parallel data processing, such as data analysis programs.
"Many-core" processors such as KiloCore are ideal for processing very large volumes of data because they are able to run several different operations in parallel. Each core can process data independently of the others, allowing 1,000 different calculations to be completed at once.
Despite the extremely high core count, KiloCore is an energy-efficient processor. According to Baas, it is the most energy-efficient chip of its kind, capable of executing 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating just 0.7 watts of energy. This feat is achieved by allowing each core to shut down and run on its own, dramatically reducing power consumption when the workload is light.
The result is a chip 100 times more efficient than the desktop CPU inside a typical laptop, despite the KiloCore having 2,500 times more cores. It can be powered by a single AA battery.
The efficiency doesn't mean KiloCore will be powering your devices anytime soon though. The chip is currently intended purely for data crunching, capable of making its way through intensive data sets in a fraction of the time of other many-core chips.
Even so, the innovations contained in KiloCore do open the door to consumer processors with more cores. Earlier this year, Intel launched the world's first deca-core chip aimed at enthusiasts with desktop PCs. The move to smaller architectures such as 10nm and 8nm beyond it will help to facilitate this. The 32nm process used for KiloCore is now rather archaic and could allow the processor to grow further if manufactured on a more modern architecture.
More about Computer, Processor, Calculations, Chip, Microchip
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