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In an article about multicores, there's another technology that also bears mention. Last year Intel began showing the Many Integrated Core architecture. Intel MIC puts 32 cores on a PCIe board and makes them available for highly parallel applications in high-performance computing such as those for climate simulation, energy research and genetic analysis. According to Intel, applications written in standard programming languages can still take advantage of these extremely high levels of application performance.
Code-named Knights Ferry, the Intel MIC boards are even being experimented with to run applications that use cloud-based ray tracing, a compute-intensive light rendering technique used in video games that's currently limited to dedicated, high-end graphics processors. This allows laptops, smartphones and other lightweight computing devices to experience sophisticated games without a heavy GPU. Once such a technology becomes mainstream, tasks that were once the province of supercomputers will be available from the average smartphone.
PUBLISHED JULY 4, 2012