Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Intelligent Machines

Multicore Patents

Many microchips today incorporate multiple processing units, known as cores, to boost performance (see “Designing for Mobility”). These cores share system resources such as memory. Widely cited U.S. patent 5,617,537, awarded to Japanese communications giant NTT in 1997, arbitrates between cores as they access system memory, so that one core does not, for example, accidentally overwrite information that another core has placed in memory.

patent map

A patent map created by IPVision, based in Cambridge, MA, shows a key invention by Japanese communications giant NTT. Awarded in 1997, the patent is important to the growing trend toward so-called multicore chips in computers; these chips incorporate multiple processing units, known as cores, which share system resources, such as memory. The advantage of a multicore system is that, in theory, a pair of two-gigahertz cores, for instance, could work together to do the job of one four-gigahertz core but with a lot less power–an important consideration for mobile devices. In practice, it can be difficult to coordinate the cores so that they work together seamlessly. This widely cited patent describes a way to handle a big piece of the coordination puzzle: how to arbitrate between cores as they access system memory, so that one core does not accidently overwrite information that another core has placed in memory.

This story is part of our May/June 2010 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Credit: IPVision

Couldn't make it to EmTech Next to meet experts in AI, Robotics and the Economy?

Go behind the scenes and check out our video
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.