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“Dark Silicon” in NY Times

The “Dark Silicon” paper presented in June at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture is profiled in the New York Times:

“Even today, the most advanced microprocessor chips have so many transistors that it is impractical to supply power to all of them at the same time. So some of the transistors are left unpowered … The phenomenon is known as dark silicon.  As early as next year, these advanced chips will need 21 percent of their transistors to go dark at any one time … And in just three more chip generations — a little more than a half-decade — … as many as half of them will have to be turned off to avoid overheating.”

Dave Patterson has the last word:  “It’s one of those ‘If we don’t innovate, we’re all going to die’ papers … I’m pretty sure it means we need to innovate, since we don’t want to die!”

The paper was written by Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, Emily Blem, Renée St. Amant, Karthikeyan Sankaralingam, and Doug Burger.  The work began when Burger was a faculty member at UT Austin; he is now at Microsoft Research and an Affiliate Professor in UW CSE; Esmaeilzadeh is a UW CSE graduate student.

Read the New York Times article here.

August 1, 2011