Tuesday, February 13, 2007

1,000,000,000,000 is a big number

Chip can do a trillion calculations a second

Intel, the world's largest semiconductor maker, has created a test processor capable of performing a trillion calculations a second, billing the thumbnail-sized chip as the first of its kind.

Ten years ago, the same task would have required 10,000 processors in a 186 sq m computer room, said Intel chief technical officer Justin Rattner.

The device, which isn't for sale, would help Intel test new technologies destined for its mainstream processors in the next five years, Rattner said.

The new chip featured 20 times the processors built into current production models, the type of leap needed to speed technological improvements.

The chip might help Intel play a part in developing products such as cars that know when there's a pedestrian in the road and stop automatically, Rattner said. The test chip has 80 cores.

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