Monthly Archives: September 2016

First KiloCore Chip Announced

Congratulations to the researchers at the University of California – Davis for their development of the world’s first chip with 1,000 independently programmed processing cores. The research team was lead by Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering and included  Aaron Stillmaker, Jon Pimentel, Timothy Andreas, Bin Liu, Anh Tran and Emmanuel Adeagbo, all graduate students at UC Davis. More information about their impressive achievement is available here. For you spec junkies, be sure to read their detailed paper here.

Dubbed the KiloCore chip, it boasts a number of impressive capabilities beyond just the number of cores:

  • It is implemented in 32nm CMOS technology
  • It operates at 1.78 GHz max at 1.1 V
  • It dissipates only 0.7 mW @ 0.56V @ 115 MHz per processor for a total of 1.3 W
  • At 0.84 V, the 1000 cores execute 1 trillion instructions per second while dissipating just 13.1 Watt
  • Each processor contains 575,000 transistors
  • The complete chip contains a total of 621 million transistor (less that half the 1.4 billion transistors in an Intel i7 quad core CPU)
  • Each processor is independently clocked
  • Each processor can shut itself down to save energy when not needed
  • Each processor can run its own small program instead of SIMD

As impressive as its specs are, what impresses me the most is how soon it arrived. I expected that various groups developing multi-core units would sneak up on the 1,000 core mark more slowly, edging each other on a few tens of cores or maybe one hundred cores at a time. Instead the UC Davis team leapfrogged the other teams and included 3 to 4 times more cores than the few other chips with more than 100 cores. Of the 60-plus multi-core chips listed in their research, most have fewer than 60 cores and only 3 or 4 have more than 100 cores.

Color me impressed. And when can I get one.