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Monday, May 24, 2010
New Intel Technology to Boost Single-thread Performance in Multi-core Systems

Intel has showed a new technology that could improve performance of microprocessors when running older software. The technology called "Anaphase" has been developed at Intel Labs Barcelona.

Current processor designs have shifted towards multi-core. Nevertheless single thread performance remains very important as many applications have limited thread-level parallelism. As a result, users executing one of these applications experience little benefit from new multi-core processors.

Researchers from Intel Labs Barcelona now presented "Anaphase" which is a novel hardware/software hybrid approach to leverage multiple cores in order to improve single-thread performance on multi-core processors. This research focuses on different speculative techniques to automatically partition single thread applications to be processed on multiple cores.

On the hardware side, a new unit called "Inter-Core Memory Coherency Module" (ICMC) could be integrated into the die of future processors. The ICMC updates the memory state in program order, detects memory violations and implements check-pointing and recovery mechanisms, so that it can execute the resulting partitioned applications on multiple cores.

First simulated benchmarks running 12 SpecFP and 12 SpecInt benchmarks of the SPEC2006 suite show dramatic average performance improvements of 31% to 41% (depending on core size) over non-Anaphase optimized systems. At the present Anaphase is a research project and the Intel Labs Barcelona researchers are looking into ways how to potentially integrate this technology into future processor designs.

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