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Wednesday, 11 April 2012 12:25

Boffins have turned chips into mini-internet

Written by Nick Farrell



Not the normal way of doing things


MIT boffins have worked out a way of wiring up multi-core chips so that the they run like an internet. While this does not sound like it is much to do with chips it could be the key to building multi-core chips which work like a mini-internet.

With a chip might have six or eight cores, communicating over a bus  only one pair of cores can talk at a time.  This creates a  limitation in chips with hundreds or even thousands of cores, which many electrical engineers envision as the future of computing.

So what Li-Shiuan Peh, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, did was wire up the cores  the same way computers hooked to the Internet do. Each core would have its own router, which could send a packet down any of several paths, depending on the condition of the network as a whole. Peh says that the buses take up a lot of power, because they are trying to drive long wires to eight or 10 cores at the same time.

In the type of network Peh is proposing, on the other hand, each core communicates only with the four cores nearest it. “Here, you’re driving short segments of wires, so that allows you to go lower in voltage,” she said.


Nick Farrell

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