In a recent article in the HPC Source magazine, HPC consultant Wolfgang Gentzsch discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of multicore processors. The good: their great performance potential and recent software development environments which provide excellent support for multicore parallelization. The bad: you won’t really re-write all the billions of lines of code out there, would you? Even if you wanted to, how many algorithms resist parallelization, bullheadedly, because they are simply serial? And the ugly: all efforts are for nothing when running even the greatest core-parallel codes in a multi-user multi-job environment. And, hybrid systems will further complicate the challenge of optimizing system utilization. And, it’s all getting worse.
Since the first multicore announcements seven years ago, we have witnessed the release of 2-core, 4-core, 6-core, 8-core, 12-core and, with the latest AMD Interlagos and Fujitsu Sparc64-IXfx, 16-core processors. In 2012, organizations will be deploying large numbers of relatively low cost 32, 64, even 128 core servers, and one can infer from processor roadmaps that core counts will continue rising at a rapid pace. Yes, Moore’s Law lives on.