Typical 9-to-5 programmers, who are used to programming single-thread apps, are ill-equipped to handle things such as memory locks or calculation delays. What's more, there are added complications like scalability: Code written for eight-, 16- or 32-core systems won't necessarily scale up to work on systems with 64 cores -- like Tilera's recently announced Tile64 -- or even more.
Now the two largest chipmakers in the world are redoubling their efforts to help programmers catch up with the hardware.
To date, the measures by AMD and Intel involve everything from hybrid software-hardware solutions to developing new tools, benchmarks and compilers that programmers can use to scale and troubleshoot the code they produce for multicore systems. For instance, AMD's "Hardware Extensions for Software Parallelism" initiative aims to better integrate software and hardware to take advantage of software parallelism.