Thursday, 17 December 2009

Intel unveils futuristic chip

The world’s leading chipmaker, Intel Technologies, unveiled its futuristic chip which was developed with significant contributions from its research and development centre in Bangalore.

The concept chip, which has 48-cores called ‘single-chip cloud computer,’ has processing power 20 times higher than the ones currently being used. The chip developed over a period of two years saw a team of 40 people across three labs of Intel globally -- Hillsboro, US, Braunschweig, Germany and Bangalore contributing equally to the project.

The Bangalore lab contributed in the areas of circuit and physical design, memory controller logic and the mesh interconnect network. According to Vasantha Erranguntla, senior engineering manager, Intel Labs India, “The single-chip cloud computer was designed as a concept vehicle for parallel software research.”
For now, this concept chip would be largely used for academic and research purposes. Intel’s 48 core chip is also an extension of its earlier research called the teraflop processor which had 80 cores, in which the Bangalore centre had a major part to play.

Intel started its R&D operations in Bangalore in 1998 and it has grown to become one of the largest centre outside US with an estimated headcount in excess of 2,500.

The Bangalore R&D centre has also been part of the various commercial launches of Intel with most notable being the six-core x86 microprocessor called the Xeon 7400 series.

The Xeon 7400 series saw the Bangalore centre executing the end-to-end design activity and also for the first time working on the 45 nm technology.

On the 48 core chip, Intel is expecting the processor to get into commercial production only in the next three to four years. This could be largely used in the area of data centres or conducting very large computing applications.

Though for now, Intel is looking to engage industry and academia next year by sharing 100 or more of these experimental chips for hands-on research in developing new software applications and programming models.

Ms Erranguntla said they were also holding discussions with several research labs and universities in India also to be part of this concept chip.