Innovation in information technology is fueled by performance improvements of microprocessors. Unfortunately, physical limitations now limit the rate of performance improvement we have become accustomed to in single-core microprocessors. Moore’s Law, however, continues to deliver a doubling of transistors on a chip every other year. In order to make use of the massive amount of transistors, nearly all commercially available microprocessors are now organized as multicore processors where performance improvements are obtained through parallelism.
Utilizing multicore processors will be critical for industrial competitiveness. They enable higher performance, new high-value functionalities and lower power consumption. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors predicts an increase in the number of cores with 40% per year, a performance increase with a factor of 5 in five years and with a factor of 25 in ten years. However, only about 1% of software developers are proficient in parallel programming and international studies have shown that parallel software development is 2-3 times more expensive than conventional software development.
The Swedish Multicore Initiative is a concerted effort to address the engineering and strategic issues related to multicore processor technology for the software intensive systems industry in Sweden. The Initiative ties together all parties interested in advancing this technology with the main objective of drastically reducing the cost of software production for multicores.
The vision of the Initiative is to make multi/many-core microprocessor technology as easy to use for the Swedish software intensive industry as single-core microprocessors.
The main objectives of the Initiative therefore include:
· To make Swedish software-intensive industry internationally competitive in utilizing multi/many-core technology
· To make graduates from Swedish universities internationally competitive in utilizing multi/many-core technology
· To make Swedish research internationally competitive in advancing state-of-the-art in utilizing multi/many-core technology
Our belief is that this can only be achieved through a focused collaboration between industrial and academic organisations. To facilitate this, the Initiative will form a virtual center which acts as a one-stop shop for competence in utilizing multi/many-core technology. This center could be seen as a Swedish counterpart to international industrial/academic partnerships such as the one at UC Berkeley and University of Illinois UC (with Microsoft, Intel US) and at Stanford University (with AMD, HP, Intel, NVidia and Sun). The center naturally connects to international competence networks through its members. One example is the strong link to the HiPEAC Network of Excellence supported by EU under FP7.