Kilo is one of the most used metric prefixes—while most of us use it to define weight and distance—it can now also be used to define computing power as a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, have successfully designed a microchip containing 1,000 independent programmable processors. Though there are supercomputers with 10-million cores, researchers at UC Davis claim that microchips have only been able to reach around 300 processors. The world’s first 1,000-core chip has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors, as compared to a billion instructions that a few laptops can provide. More than the power, it is the energy efficiency that can have a big impact as, in this case, each processor can run independently of others and can shut itself down to save more energy. Researchers say that the KiloCore can execute 115 billion instructions per second at just 0.7 watts—enough to be powered by a single AA battery—and thus is 100 times more efficient than a modern laptop processor.
At present, KiloCore can do tasks like wireless coding/decoding, video processing, encryption, scientific data applications and data-center record processing. However, expect more sophisticated uses to be added on to the list, especially as big data computing become ubiquitous. For users like us, while we are still gasping at our octa-core mobile phones that run out of juice pretty fast, the technology is certainly expected to surprise us, especially when companies and governments are banking on a more active-online- connected world and Internet of Things.