Software Not Keeping Up With Multicore Advances: PanelistsSoftware Not Keeping Up With Multicore Advances: Panelists
Challenges facing multicore processors include programming difficulties and a lack of development environments.
March 24, 2006
Panelists were largely in agreement that the industry as a whole is not fully ready to embrace multicore methodologies.
"People are not yet ready," Davidmann said. "The silicon is going to give people things that they don't yet need, but they think they do." Bremer said he was originally surprised to hear from customers that have multiple cores but were not using them, until he began hearing it over and over. "They have absolutely no idea how to use them," he said. "What we are talking about is way out in front of where most of our customers are at the moment," said Altera's Allen. "But they catch up all at once sometimes." Mark Grosen, engineering manager of Texas Instruments' software development organization, said a lot of the customers that he works with are already doing multithreaded work. Providing the right runtime hardware so that customers don't have to worry about the details of the actual hardware is a key thing that his organization is working on, Grosen said. There are two main barriers to customer adoption of multicore, IBM's Perrone said, difficulty in assessing the performance that they will get from moving to multicore — which differs case by case — and the cost of porting their code to the new architecture. "As we have more and more concurrent problems, we are going to need new tools and technologies to help port applications quickly [from one architecture to another]," Davidmann said. PolyCore's Bremer said that, once the industry as a whole gets to the "pain point" of realizing there is no way other than multicore to achieve the required performance, "you'll see new tools and new methodologies that allow you to look at this at a much higher abstraction level."
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