martes, 28 de diciembre de 2010

Now a chip that makes computers 20 times faster - Economic Times

LONDON: An ultra-fast computer chip that is 20 times faster than the ones found in the current desktop computers has been created by scientists.

Modern PCs have a processor with two, four or sometimes 16 cores to carry out tasks. But the central processing unit ( CPU )) developed by the researchers effectively had 1,000 cores on a single chip, Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

The developments could usher in a new age of high-speed computing in the next few years for home users frustrated with slow-running systems. And the new 'super' computer is much greener than modern machines, using far less power, despite its high speed.

Scientists used a chip called a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), which like all microchips contains millions of transistors, the tiny on-off switches that are the foundation of any electronic circuit. But FPGAs can be configured into specific circuits by the user, rather than their function being set at a factory.

This enabled the team to divide up the transistors within the chip into small groups and ask each to perform a different task. By creating more than 1,000 mini-circuits within the FPGA chip , the researchers effectively turned the chip into a 1,000-core processor, each core working on its own instructions.

The chip was able to process around five gigabytes of data per second in testing, making it approximately 20 times faster than modern computers. The team was led by Wim Vanderbauwhede, of the University of Glasgow , and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Vanderbauwhede said: "FPGAs are not used within standard computers because they are fairly difficult to programme but their processing power is huge while their energy consumption is very small because they are so much quicker, so they are also a greener option."

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