This energy-efficient microchip, designed by a team at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is named as the “KiloCore” chip and has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors.
“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,” said Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Fabricated by IBM using their 32nm CMOS technology, KiloCore chip’s each processor core can run its own small programme independently of the others. The team said other multiple-processor chips that have been created till now never exceeded 300 processors.
“This is a fundamentally more flexible approach than so-called Single-Instruction-Multiple-Data approaches utilised by processors such as GPUs; the idea is to break an application up into many small pieces, each of which can run in parallel on different processors, enabling high throughput with lower energy use,” Baas said.
Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture.
Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data.
The KiloCore was presented at the 2016 Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Honolulu recently.