Engineers Build World’s First 1,000-Processor Chip

Engineers Build World’s First 1,000-Processor Chip

A team of engineers from the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have constructed the world’s first microchip to contain 1,000 independent processors. The KiloCore, which has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors, was shown off this week at the 2016 Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“To the best of our knowledge, it is the world’s first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university,” Bevan Baas, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, told the UCDavis website. Baas, who led the engineering team responsible for the KiloCore – fabricated by IBM using its 32nm CMOS technology – claims that the chip’s closest competitor possesses fewer than 300 cores.

Each of the 1,000 cores is able to operate independently, offering greater flexibility than, say, the Single-Instruction-Multiple-Data operations of GPUs. Baas says the KiloCore concept lends itself to breaking data down application data down into tiny pieces so that each processor – which are independently clocked, so can shut down when not in use – can run it parallel, which allows high throughput while being energy-efficient. The KiloCore can execute 115 billion instructions per second using 0.7 Watts, which means it can be potentially be powered by an AA battery.

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