August 13, 2022

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

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Is the Microprocessor Under Threat?

12 November, 2015 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Is the microprocessor under threat? Perhaps: certainly power consumption limitations reduce the proportion of transistors able to do useful work, fuelling a radical rethink of computational system design.

Fortunately, custom hardware coupled with modern state-of-the art software design techniques may come to the rescue, potentially speeding up workloads by a factor of ten or more. A first step is hardware accelerators in a heterogeneous system-on-chip, or low-level hardware programmability exemplified by Field Programmable Gate Arrays. Once a niche area, FPGAs may be poised to enter the data centre in a big way after Intel announced the $16.7 billion purchase of manufacturer Altera. These new approaches share common challenges, especially as hopes for the easy migration of algorithms to heterogeneous computing systems in a performance portable way remains largely unfulfilled.

In his lecture George Constantinides will chart his career in this exciting field, from a summer undergraduate project, to his latest work automating the conversion of algorithms into hardware, and the people and problems he has encountered along the way.


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