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Challenges and Tradeoffs for Tera-scale Architecture

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Tera-scale processors promise to offer an unprecedented concentration of computing power and enable novel usages and applications. The computing power may be provided by a combination of general-purpose cores and special-purpose (fixed or programmable) computing engines. Further, Moore's law enables the integration of additional system resources to the processor die. However, the realization of tera-scale architecture is challenged by on-die power dissipation, wire delays, off-chip memory bandwidth, process variations, and higher failure rates. These challenges create opportunities for architectural innovation. One of the ways to address these challenges is through the use of a "tiled" architecture: the die is divided into a large number of identical or close-to-identical, tiles that are interconnected using a scalable and energy-efficient interconnect. This modular approach enables ease of layout and rapid integration of different blocks. Limited off-chip memory bandwidth requires innovations in the cache hierarchy, memory subsystem, and coherence protocol. We present an architectural vision for the tera-scale processors and discuss the performance, scalability, and manufacturability aspects of the uncore. We articulate key challenges and point to candidate solutions for these challenges.

Read the full Challenges and Tradeoffs for Tera-scale Architecture White Paper.