The chip maker Intel has announced a prototype for a new chip called Single-Chip Cloud Computer, a new prototype for many core computer currently in Intel Labs. It is an Intel Architecture (IA) computing engines integrated on a silicon CPU chip with 48 cores.The conventional wisdom predicts that the processors will stay put with a few cores because the inherent complexity will make more than few cores meaningless. Intel has been trying to hard to mimic the cloud computing scale out model in a single chip.
Today’s announcement can be, in a simplistic way, visualized as a complete datacenter inside a single chip or to use the cloud terminology, it is cloud computing in a chip. This new chip has the largest number of cores in a single chip connected by an on-die network with latency and bandwidth of 256 GB/sec. SCC can run all 48 cores at a time over a range of 25 to 125W, or selectively vary to voltage and frequency of the mesh and sets of cores. On an average, it only consumes as much electricity as two standard household light bulbs.
As noted in the Intel Research Blog, parallel programming is not something new but an age old concept that started off with supercomputers which had a large number of powerful processors. Later, with the advent of cloud computing, its scale out architecture led companies to use parallel programming model. Google (with MapReduce) and many others (with Hadoop) have successfully used this approach. In fact, Intel Labs has demonstrated cloud computing inside the chip by running Linux on each core and slapping Hadoop on top them to run an application, much like how it is implemented in the cloud based world.
Here is a short animation released by Intel to showcase their new processor
The ultimate goal of the Intel research team is to reach 100 cores and beyond on a on-chip network with support for advanced power management and messaging.
Here is the video of Intel announcing this new chip prototype.
It will be interesting to see the impact of this development on the cloud computing, in general, and on plans by companies like Cisco with their UCS plans, in particular.