Multicore chips that are smarter, better & faster

Multicore chips that are smarter, better & faster
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Computer chips’ clocks have stopped getting faster. To keep delivering performance improvements, chipmakers are instead giving chips more processing units, or cores, which can execute computations in parallel.

But the ways in which a chip carves up computations can make a big difference to performance. In a 2013 paper, CSAIL researcher Daniel Sanchez and student Nathan Beckmann described a system that cleverly distributes data around multicore chips’ memory banks, improving execution times by 18 percent on average while actually increasing energy efficiency.

This month, members of Sanchez’s group have been nominated for a best-paper award for an extension of the system that controls the distribution of not only data but computations as well. In simulations involving a 64-core chip, the system increased computational speeds by 46 percent while reducing power consumption by 36 percent.

“Now that the way to improve performance is to add more cores and move to larger-scale parallel systems, we’ve really seen that the key bottleneck is communication and memory accesses,” Sanchez says. “A large part of what we did in the previous project was to place data close to computation. But what we’ve seen is that how you place that computation has a significant effect on how well you can place data nearby.”

Learn more at MIT News: http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/smarter-multicore-chips-0218