Intel’s next-generation chip design was influenced by cloud computing

It is just a concept that is still in R&D but Intel has started demonstrating the Single Chip Cloud Computer. The design contains 48 separate processor cores. It’s not simply a duplication of the same type of processing cores that are running on today’s dual- and quad-core CPUs. Intel says it is trying to re-think how it designs processors.

Intel engineers say that they are taking a cue from the design of today’s cloud computer data centers to give this chip an onboard network connecting the different cores. They believe it will enable dramatically more efficient data centers, partly because the integration of all that processing on a single chip can significantly reduce the electrical power requirements for large installations.

The design may also make its way into consumer devices and personal computers.

Right now, this design is more concept than product.

According to the announcement:

Intel plans to gain a better understanding of how to schedule and coordinate the many cores of this experimental chip for its future mainstream chips. For example, future laptops with processing capability of this magnitude could have “vision” in the same way a human can see objects and motion as it happens and with high accuracy.

Imagine, for example, someday interacting with a computer for a virtual dance lesson or on-line shopping that uses a future laptop’s 3-D camera and display to show you a “mirror” of yourself wearing the clothes you are interested in. Twirl and turn and watch how the fabric drapes and how the color complements your skin tone.

This kind of interaction could eliminate the need of keyboards, remote controls or joysticks for gaming. Some researchers believe computers may even be able to read brain waves, so simply thinking about a command, such as dictating words, would happen without speaking.

Intel Labs has nicknamed this test chip a “single-chip cloud computer” because it resembles the organization of datacenters used to create a “cloud” of computing resources over the Internet, a notion of delivering such services as online banking, social networking and online stores to millions of users.

In 2010, Intel plans to provide one hundred samples to select designers, and is encouraging feedback on how to move forward.

ntel will be distributing 100 of this experimental processor to researchers in 2010, and they are looking to experiment with it to schedule and coordinate the multiple cores for their future mainstream chips.

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