The Channel

Japanese boffins show off 512-core chip

Maths co-processor on steroids

hands waving dollar bills in the air

Japanese researchers at the University of Tokyo have built a multi-core chip that runs at just 500MHz but is capable, they claim, of performing 512bn floating-point operations every second. The secret: the processor contains 512 cores.

To be accurate, the so-called Grape DR chip is a maths co-processor. It's designed to sit on a PCI-X add-in card and provide back-up for the host system's CPU. And each core is designed to handle a single, specific maths instruction, such as a floating-point addition or multiplication. The chip also contains a shared memory cache.

The 512 cores are split into 16 groups of 32, each group capable of processing a single type of FP instruction. The chip itself measures 17 x 17mm and contains 300m transistors. It consumes up to 60W of power.

The University of Tokyo began work on Grape DR in 2004. By 2008, it hopes to have a design capable of delivering 2Pflops - two quadrillion floating-point operations a second. ®

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