Prof. Tomas Nordström: Heterogeneity, the Glimmer of Hope in Times of Dark Silicon
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Up until the early 2000s, computers experienced an enormous performance increase mainly due to the steady increase in clock rates. In the middle of the 2000s, a number of technology issues like heat dissipation and signal propagation delay, resulted in a paradigm shift where a duplication of processor cores on the same chip was introduced, so called multicore architectures.
However, we are now approaching the point where the scaling of transistor dimensions, together with limits on the maximum total power available to a chip, result in areas of a chip needing to be turned off, i.e. "going dark" or being "dark silicon", during significant parts of the running of an application.
In order to efficiently use the hardware in times of dark silicon, we suggest that each core needs specialization, leading to a heterogeneous architecture. In this presentation, I will discuss various ways of introducing heterogeneity and present a new taxonomy of the heterogeneity level of current and future many-core architectures.