Multicore systems are popular but problematic. The authors describe the problem with communications APIs and what the Multicore Association is doing about it.
By Markus Levy and Sven Brehmer, Courtesy of Embedded Systems Design
Nov 1 2006 (5:53 AM)
What do firefighting and multicore programming have in common? Both are hot jobs. Firefighters and multicores both need to get the job done as quickly and effectively as possible. They both require reliable, standardized tools. Firefighters always act as a team, and the same goes for multicore. But most importantly, they both have to communicate well. Without communication, firefighters don't survive and the cores in a multicore system may as well be operating alone.
Analogies aside, it's important to point out that "excellent communication" is a relative term that depends on the application's requirements. Regardless of the implementation, however, multicore systems can be classified according to their memory architectures and their communication mechanisms. Before we go on, we should point out that when we say multicore, we're talking about systems with two or more processing elements, including homogeneous (same processor type) and heterogeneous (different processor types) multiprocessor systems, as well as coprocessors and hardware accelerators. We should also point out that this article focuses on multicore-enabled closely distributed embedded applications, but we'll take a look at the similarities and differences of the memory architectures and communication application programming interfaces (APIs) used in desktops, servers, and networks.