Scientists design chip 20 times faster than current PCs

Scientists design chip 20 times faster than current PCs

Modern PCs have a processor with two, four or sometimes 16 cores to carry out tasks. But the central processing unit (CPU) developed by the researchers effectively had 1,000 cores on a single chip.

The development could usher in a new age of high-speed computing over the next few years for home users frustrated with slow-running systems.

And the new 'super' computer is much greener than modern machines - using far less power - despite its high speed, reports the Daily Mail.

Scientists used a chip called a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which like all microchips contains millions of transistors, the tiny on-off switches which are the foundation of any electronic circuit.

But FPGAs can be configured into specific circuits by the user, rather than their function being set at a factory.

This enabled the team to divide up the transistors within the chip into small groups and ask each to perform a different task.

By creating more than 1,000 mini-circuits within the FPGA chip, the researchers effectively turned the chip into a 1,000-core processor - each core working on its own instructions.

The chip was able to process around five gigabytes of data per second in testing - making it approximately 20 times faster than modern computers.

The team was led by Wim Vanderbauwhede, University of Glasgow, Britain and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in the US.

He said: "FPGAs are not used within standard computers because they are fairly difficult to program but their processing power is huge while their energy consumption is very small because they are so much quicker - so they are also a greener option."

While most computers sold today now contain more than one processing core, which allows them to carry out different processes simultaneously, traditional multi-core processors must share access to one memory source, which slows the system down.

The research scientists were able to make the processor faster by allotting each core a certain amount of dedicated memory.

Vanderbauwhede said: "This is very early proof-of-concept work where we're trying to demonstrate a convenient way to program FPGAs so that their potential to provide very fast processing power could be used much more widely in future computing and electronics.

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