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Re: Transputer Development System, 2006? (aka Sony PS/3 runs multi-core Linux)

Chalmers, Kevin wrote:
Hi all,

There are a couple of links in the Transterpreter Wiki about Intel's
surging forward with more and more cores, one of which is a bit more
critical of Intel's approach.  My concern is that we are going to see a
new processor race, with GHz replaced by cores, and no concern over
whether they can be used correctly (hence my earlier post).

One thing I have noticed, being a game player, is an emergence of games
that say they are "optimised" to run on multi-core systems.  What do
they mean by optimised in this respect?  I find it hard to believe that
an industry of that size can all of a sudden do a paradigm shift so
easily, without any discussion in the press about re-training.  But then
again I could be misinterpreting their meaning on this.

Games are one of the few areas on desktop PCs where taking advantage of the cores can yield a direct advantage over your competitors. I think that "optimised for multi-core" usually means "we have threads now!". "Optimised" meaning "capable of using", in this instance. Some companies will produce a workable thread-based model and some will struggle. The problem from our point-of-view is that games tend to be embarassingly parallel - both when viewed cross-capability (e.g. the AI calculations can run independently of the rendering calculations) and in some key areas (e.g. mass matrix transformations). I think process-oriented programming would be a good fit, but threading probably won't be bad enough that it prompts them to look elsewhere. At least there will be lots of parallel cores/processors in all the gamers' machines before too long though.