Multicore COTS for Mil/Aero

Processors are rapidly advancing the state of the art in the commercial world, and the mil/aero community is anxious to reap the benefits of the technology. Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors placed on an integrated circuit will double every two years, has taken on a slightly different look and feel as we are reach the physical limits of transistor density in a single core. We are now turning our attentions to and taking into account core density. We have gone from single to dual- and quad-core processors, and now even a hexa (six)-core processor is available with the launch of Intel’s new 32nm Westmere product family.

Industry R&D group Tera-Scale Computing, makers of the Teraflops Research Chip 80-core test processor, predict that processors like its 80-core test chip will be available in five years. The first multicore processors were announced only five years ago in 2005, and with the recent release of the Intel i3, i5, and i7 processors, quad-core is now considered mainstream.

Embedded Single Board Multicore Computer by Kontron

Embedded Single Board Multicore Computer by Kontron

Is there an end in sight? Some experts believe so. Transistors are likely to run up against a slight physical challenge: They will be the size of an atom. Even Gordon E. Moore himself (co-founder of Intel and creator of Moore’s Law) said in 2005, “In terms of size (of transistors) you can see that we’re approaching the size of atoms, which is a fundamental barrier, but it’ll be two or three generations before we get that far—but that’s as far out as we’ve ever been able to see. We have another 10 to 20 years before we reach a fundamental limit. By then, they’ll be able to make bigger chips and have transistor budgets in the billions.”

Not only is the number of cores being multiplied, so is the number of materials upon which processors can be built. Say “goodbye” to plain old silicon! Materials research is yielding substances that support much higher speeds than the traditional silicon wafers. Research by IBM and Georgia Tech has shown that a silicon/germanium, supercooled transistor could run at 500GHz and beyond, as it was cooled further to 4.5 K (-451 F/-268.65 C for those of us without our handy Kelvin to Fahrenheit/Celsius conversion formulas). In simulation, it was shown to be possible to run at 1 terahertz (THz) Can you imagine a 1THz processor sitting at your feet? Sends chills down this geek’s back!

Multicore is just the beginning and, with modern EDA solutions, we engineers have at our fingertips the tools to dream up and develop cutting-edge computing products–and, perhaps, change the world one core at a time.

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Posted June 28th, 2010, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MindShare LLC, J VanDomelen. J VanDomelen said: Multicore Military: The changing face of COTS in the mil/aero market. Read more at my blog http://bit.ly/9oUeYt [...]

Commented on July 2, 2010 at 11:38 am
By More Cores in Store « J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

[...] and advanced platforms, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are driving the military to adopt commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics at a feverish pace. And from one geek to another, I don’t see this trend easing [...]

Commented on January 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm
By May I Introduce, Intel « J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

[...] Corporation was founded in 1968 by Gordon E. Moore (the man behind Moore’s Law) and Robert Noyce (co-inventor of the integrated circuit) in Santa Clara, Calif., when they both [...]

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