Fall IDF 2006 wrap

Intel eyes highly parallel processing

THIS FALL'S INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM didn't pack the same punch as the past few IDFs, simply because Intel wasn't gearing up for the release of a brand-new CPU microarchitecture. However, the PC industry is constantly moving forward in a multitude of big and small ways, and last week yielded a tremendous amount of information about what's coming down the pike. Some of those changes may seem rather mundane on the surface, but underlying them is an intriguing new trend.

As Intel's revelation of a tera-scale floating-point chip with 80 processing cores most vividly underscored, highly parallel processing is definitely heating up, whether it be in CPUs, GPUs, or custom accelerator chips. One gets the sense that the very shape of the industry could be altered radically depending on how these things shake out. What follows is my summation of Intel's processor technology-related revelations at IDF, many of which touched on that theme in one way or another.

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