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A computer chip that contains two or more CPU processing units. Instead of continuing to squeeze more speed out of a single processor, it became obvious years ago that creating chips with multiple processing cores was the more practical approach. All major operating systems were updated to support this "symmetric multiprocessing" (SMP) capability, which enables, for example, the OS to run in one core, while each application runs in another. Antivirus running in the background can occupy its own core, and multicore architecture is ideal for virtualized servers (see virtual machine). Applications requiring extensive computations on separate sets of data, such as video encoding and 3D rendering, can also take advantage of multicore processing.

From Two to Dozens of Cores
Starting in 2005, dual-core and quad-core chips began to emerge for the x86 platform, and in subsequent years, multicore PC and Mac laptop and desktop computers became commonplace. In 2014, IBM's POWER8 CPU was introduced with up to 12 cores, and Intel introduced an 18-core Xeon chip. Other companies have developed CPUs for multimedia and scientific processing with dozens of cores. See SMP, dual core, triple core, quad core, octa-core, multithreading, multiprocessing and Cell chip.

Eight-Core POWER Chip
In 2010, IBM debuted its POWER7 generation with up to eight cores. Providing four threads per core, a 32-chip POWER7 computer can process 1,024 simultaneous instruction streams. (Image courtesy of IBM.)

Seventy-Two Cores
EZchip's Gx8072 system-on-chip (SoC) has 24 lanes of PCI Express and up to 100 Gbps of Ethernet I/O. (Image courtesy of EZchip Semiconductor Corporation,
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References in periodicals archive ?
For example, a symmetric multicore chip which can support 16 processors with a single core is shown in Fig.
The processor takes advantage of ARM's big.LITTLE technology, which pairs the small, energy-efficient ARM Cortex-A7 chip with a larger, more powerful Cortex A-15 multicore chip. ARM announced Big.Little in Oct.
Finally, to model multicore scaling, the authors built a detailed performance model of upper-bound performance and lowerbound core power The multicore designs studied include single-threaded CPU-like and massively threaded CPU-like multicore chip organizations with symmetric, asymmetric, dynamic, and composed topologies.
Many organizations may therefore notice degradation in application performance when they deploy the latest hardware because they are using applications coded for use on a single processor when the new hardware is equipped with a multicore chip. Counter-intuitively, hardware that could potentially speed processing time by orders of magnitude may be responsible for significantly slowing down many applications.
Initial multicore chip architectures depended on a set of protocols that assures that each core has the same view of the system's memory, a technique called cache coherency.
Selecting an optimal multicore chip or SoC architecture is considerably more complex than picking a lone processor chip or core.
The notes released now confirm that Cell is a multicore chip comprised of a 64-bit PowerPC processor core and multiple synergistic processor cores capable of massive floating point processing, optimized to run on multiple operating systems.
Heo, "Wireless NoC as interconnection backbone for multicore chips: Promises and challenges," IEEE Journal on Emerging and Selected Topics in Circuits and Systems, vol.
Even multicore chips that handle data in parallel are limited to just a few simultaneous linear processes.
More importantly, the new generation devices are true multicore chips (the exact same central processing unit is repeated on the silicon chip several times).

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