Pictured here is ASCI Red which was the first computer to reach a Teraflops of processing, equal to trillions of calculations per second. ASCI Red did this in 1996 using almost 10,000 Pentium Processors running at 200MHz and using 500kW of power. (Another 500kW of juice was needed to keep the room cool.)
Intel has now announced just over 10 yeas later that they have developed the world’s first processor that will deliver the same Teraflops performance all on one single 80-core chip using less electricity than a typical single-core processor at only 62 watts and small enough to rest on the tip of your finger.
This exact chip design from Intel is not intended to actually go to market, but this processor will be instrumental in looking into the types of interconnections needed for moving this amount of data as well as how software will be need to be designed to leverage a Teraflop chip.
“Our researchers have achieved a wonderful and key milestone in terms of being able to drive multi-core and parallel computing performance forward,” said Justin R. Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer. “It points the way to the near future when Teraflop-capable designs will be commonplace and will reshape what we can all expect from our computers and the Internet at home and in the office.”
The new chip features an innovative tile design making it easier to design a chip with many cores. With Intel’s plans to use new fabrication materials for future transistors and no end in sight for Moore’s Law, this lays the ground work to allow the manufacturing of multi-core processors with billions of transistors more efficiently in the future.