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The Multicore Dilemma
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Written by Gizmo   
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 09:53

Anuradha Menon - The Future of Things

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories uncovered performance issues during simulations of multi processors; they found that when the number of processor cores on an individual chip is increased, it impairs the performance of complex applications. In a world where the achievement of the supercomputer is paramount, the team at Sandia simulated key algorithms for deriving information from large data sets only to find a significant decrease in speed when the system exceeded eight multicores.

The results of the simulations revealed a considerable boost in speed with the transition from two to four multicores but an immaterial increase from four to eight multicores. When platforms with over eight multicores were tested, performance started to decrease - by sixteen multicores, the total speed was at par with the performance of only two multicores. As more chips were added, the team registered an even steeper decline.

This performance-related phenomenon could be attributed to the deficiency in memory bandwidth in addition to the conflict involving processors and the specific memory bus suitable for each. The memory bus is an essential component of the system as it is a set of wires used to relay memory addresses and data to and from the system’s random access memory (RAM).

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