While the advent of multicore systems has opened doors for unprecedented cost and power reductions for scalable HPC, it has been clear for some time that this creates a series of issues that will need to be addressed in coming years, particularly for programmers.
In order to look for solutions to the coming proliferation of heterogeneous cores, an interdisciplinary effort called the Asynchronous and Dynamic Virtualization through Performance Analysis to Support Concurrency Engineering, (thankfully) abbreviated as the “ADVANCE” project has stepped in.
The group behind ADVANCE claims that they “hope to tackle this important problem by developing a new and advanced cost-directed hardware virtualization technology to map programs onto emerging hardware architectures in a way that is both flexible and transparent to the programmer.”
The consortium, which is backed by EU 7th Framework Programme, is comprised of a number of academic and industry partners, including the University of St. Andrews, the University of Amsterdam, Philips Healthcare, SAP, BioID, and the Software Competence Center of Hagenberg (SCCH), among others.
The project leaders understand that in doing so, they need to construct the technology to respect programmer expectations for “extra-functional properties, such as resource utilization or power consumption.”
As noted, the emphasis will be on developing solutions to the problems posed by multicore that are inherently interdisciplinary. This means that a number of pieces from various research fields will contribute to the puzzle. From general architecture to languages, compilers, and mapping to working to make all the effort valuable in enterprise contexts, the ADVANCE project has set lofty goals that might pay big dividends as the multicore era dawns.