Since the advent of computers, and later of the internet, the processing of massive amounts of data has been growing. Industry has been increasing computing power for decades, but the trend towards increasing speed of processing has reached the physical barrier. We cannot change Nature’s law. Vendors cannot put more processing power into a chip, without overheating it. To solve the problem, vendors changed the architecture, building more processors into a single chip, calling them multicore chips. These new chips entered the mainstream market a few years ago, with all vendors currently selling them.
New multicore chips are also more power efficient, and the potential is basically unlimited for the number of cores that you can put on them. The potential processing power is absolutely unheard of, which will not only allow users to do thing faster, but also add more, and new, conditions to the current problems. Now it is possible to imagine applications that have not been possible before.
However, this new and exciting scenario comes with a challenge. Since the inception of computers, software has been written with a single central processing unit (CPU) in a chip. To exploit the potential of multicore chips, software needs to be written thinking in parallel. Parallel programming is not a new concept, but it is more difficult to write. It is estimated than less than 10% of all the software programmers worldwide are able to deal with parallel programming. In the next 10-15 years, there will be huge opportunities to either deal with all the legacy code written from decades of sequential programming, or to create new software that will take full advantage of thousands of cores in a chip, plus all the range of services, solutions and systems integration in between.
This is an ideal ground for the fertile mind of the technologists, software communities and researchers within New Zealand, Australia and our region. It is mainstream but it is a niche new technology. Open Parallel, a New Zealand based company specialised in Software for Multicore and Parallel Computing has been working in multicore for years. To increase awareness about multicore and to present the ecosystem that New Zealand and Australia already have in place to unveil the potential of multicore chips, every year Open Parallel organises Multicore World – a global conference about Multicore Technology (software and hardware).
The 3rd Multicore World will be held 25-26 February 2014 at the Auckland University of Technology. The main goal of the conference is to provide IT decision makers being C-level executives as well as software community leaders with the knowledge and the connections they need to make valid business and technology decisions in terms of their multicore software and hardware requirements over the coming years.
In 2014 we also add a workshop Computing for SKA, 27-28 February 2014