Turbo-charging multi-core PCs

Remember the old ‘turbo-charge button’ you used to get on a 1990s desktop PC? Sadly they don’t work any more — CPU clock speeds stopped increasing a while back. Yet our desktop PC boxes still keep getting faster. That’s mainly because we multi-core the CPU, meaning we pack many CPUs onto a single slot-in CPU that sits at the heart of our motherboard. Now, building on MIT’s work to speed up multi-core, an IEEE team has built an…

“extension of the [MIT] 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.”

All that’s apparently needed is to add a flow monitor that takes up “1 percent of the chip’s area”. Given that computers are still a major household energy hog, a power reduction of a third in the central component sounds very desirable.