Multicore chips sound pretty exciting. In the same space as a single processor, you can have two, four, eight or more cores. Shouldn't that mean that you have two, four, eight or more times the speed? Nope. In fact, these extra cores do little or nothing unless the software knows how to exploit them. It's a complicated area, one we explored in a cover story last year.
In that article, we highlighted some of the key vendors trying to bring multicore capabilities to today's software. I'm not sure if Intel or Microsoft read the piece, but both recently snagged multicore companies. Intel, which already has multicore development tools, actually bought two: Cilk Arts and RapidMind. Microsoft, meanwhile, nabbed Interactive Supercomputing.
I think it will take years for software to catch up with multicore and manycore chips. But when it does, you can say goodbye to the Windows hourglass!
Posted by Doug Barney on September 30, 2009