Computers and other technology originally began with single-core processors; in the early 2000s, Intel, AMD and several other manufacturers altered the history of computing forever by pushing multi core processors on the market. Nowadays, this technology is incredibly widespread and ubiquitous throughout the various tech markets. Owners of smartphone’s, modern-day TV’s and PC’s more than likely own a few multi-core processors without even realizing the presence of this technology. Based on the multi core processor’s purpose, several types of types of these processors presently exist. These multi core processors include general-purpose models, embedded multi core processors, CPUs used networking, DSPs, and graphics processors. The most notable theories and concepts enabling the possibility of multi cores include parallel computing and single integrated circuit dies (also known as chip multiprocessors or CMPs). But, what is the history of the multi core processor? Today we’ll explore that along with potential future processor developments.
The History of the Multi Core Processor in the PC Market
At some point after the beginning of the new millennium, computer giants Intel and AMD were forced to up the ante on the PC CPU market. Their single core processors were reaching a peak, and they could not physically improve these current designs without rewriting the entire production process. The manufacturers created the idea of designing their processors on a multi core layout. Up until that point, the market consisted of single core processors. Dual core designs (such as the AMD 64 Athlon X2 and the Intel Core Duo) changed the market forever. They were followed by four-core processors (or a quad core processor designsuch as the AMD Phenom II X4 and the Intel i5 and i7), six-core devices (AMD Phenom II X6 and Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 980X hexa-cores), octo core processors (Intel Xeon E7-2820 and AMD FX-8350) and ten core (Intel Xeon E7-2850).
Over time, the multi-core processor evolved from dual core to tri, quad, hex and octa core designs (or processor chips with 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 processors). Some processors now hold dozens or hundreds of cores. The evolution also continues in terms of technological design sophistication. The current processors with numerous cores are now designed with multi threading features, breakthrough developments such as memory-on-chip, and heterogeneous cores designed for special purposes. We can attribute these evolutions to several emerging need patterns: on one hand, contemporary technologies must become more and more efficient in networking, multimedia processing, and device recognition. On the other hand, energy efficiency must increase as well.
Manufacturers continue developing multi core processors with improvements in the actual manufacturing process. As individual CPU gates grow smaller through manufacturer breakthroughs, semiconductor microelectronics also become more and more optimized in terms of physical properties. Manufacturers now create CPUs with increasing design efficiency. Manufacturers now possess ILP (instruction-level parallelism) and TLP (thread level parallelism).
Furthermore, the PC and tech market now provide several commercial incentives to multi-core processor manufacturers. Manufacturers designed integrated circuits in smaller designs for decades. Today’s technology enables them to integrate more transistors into the design. Clock rates are also increasing in magnitude. A downside to this innovation exists, however. Like the pre-multi core designs of the past, all the improvements have slowed down over the past couple of years.
The Computing Innovations of the Future: What Will this Generations ‘Multi Core’ Be?
We should wonder what innovations will end up becoming our next ‘multi core-like’ innovation of the future considering the rapid technological developments of the past. Some experts predict that DNA computing will take its place. DNA computing is a hypothetical, approaching form of computation based on principles drawn from biochemistry, molecular biology, and DNA. It’s also being referred to as biomolecular computing. DNA computing rapidly developed on the premises very similar to those of parallel computing (or multi core processor design). What’s more, certain agencies already use DNA computers for tasks such as taking on assignment problems, implementing Strassen’s matrix multiplication algorithm, or calculating the square root of numbers up to 15.
Another development arises from the field of Quantum Computers. Quantum Computers directly employ phenomena in quantum mechanics including superposition and entanglement. Unlike the current digital computers, quantum computers are not designed based on transistors which encode data into binary digits (a.k.a. bits). Instead, these computers make use of quantum bits (a.k.a. qubits). The Turing machine serves as the most notable theoretical model available at the moment. Some of you may recognize the Turing machine as the universal quantum computer. Although the field existed since the 1980s and was pioneered by the likes of Yuri Manin and Richard Fenyman, many still consider this field in its infancy stages. Quantum Computers will affect the mainstream market eventually. The technology just isn’t likely to affect it in the next decade.
DNA computating is evolving at an incredibly fast pace. In early 2013, researchers stored a .jpeg file, an audio file, and several Shakespearean sonnets on DNA data storage. Up until now, in certain applications, DNA computers are the smallest and fastest ones in use. And quantum computing, though still in its infancy, is making massive strides by solving difficult algorithms at much faster speeds than regular computers. The future of such innovations remains unknown as of yet. Chances are radically different designs will soon surpass multi-core processors by being faster and more resource efficient.