Trinity College benefits from Intel’s Multicore Way of Thinking

Posted on: 29 January 2007

The availability of skilled computer science graduates with experience of development on new multi-core architectures is critical to the future of the ICT industry. Today Intel and TCD announced the provision of a multicore PC laboratory equipped with Intel’s latest dual core technology clients and servers, to Trinity to facilitate the development of a state of the art new course in software development for next generation multi-core processors.

Dr Padraig O’Murchu, Intel Ireland Higher Education Manager, is delighted with the collaboration with TCD and is excited by the capabilities of Intel’s newest product offering, “In 2007, Intel expects quad core processors to be the standard offering for desktop, mobile and other platform domains. In addition to new levels of performance these products deliver multitasking capabilities that enhance the way consumers can create, experience and enjoy digital entertainment.”

A revolution is underway in the computer industry with the switch from single core to multi-core processors. The latest leading-edge processors from Intel contain multiple “execution cores” or computing engines. Since the first microprocessors were designed in the early 1970s, the power of these processors has been doubling every 18 months. This steady growth rate, called Moore’s Law was first predicted by Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel. Up to now, this increasing power was driven by increases in processor clock speed (measured in GHz), but such processors consume large amounts of energy, leading to overheating and making cooling a big problem. So instead of making processors increasingly large and complex with every increasing clockspeeds, the way forward is to make many of them working in parallel on a single chip. Current Intel processors have two or four cores (called dual core or quad core), but research prototypes shown recently at Intel Developer events have as many as 80 cores on a single chip.

The huge potential offered by multi-core processing comes with big challenges for software designers. To get the best performance from multi-core processors software engineers need to be able to write parallel programs. These are programs that are capable of running on multiple cores simultaneously, with effective cooperation between the different parts. All future computers will have multiple cores. So every professional software engineer must be able to build parallel software programs.

The multi-core programming modules at TCD, designed in collaboration with Intel, provide students with the necessary skills to write multi-core programs using the latest software development tools. By teaching these vital skills, students are prepared to take leadership roles in industry and research, developing software that will drive a new generation of computer applications, and help drive the future of computer hardware and software

Prof Carol O’Sullivan, Acting Head, Department of Computer Science, TCD said: “This new multi-core PC laboratory will add greatly to the Computer Science Department’s facilities and the new curriculum on multi-core software development, devised in conjunction with Intel, will prepare students for successful careers in this field.”

In addition to its support for curriculum development, Intel also supports several research projects in TCD with Intel’s latest quad core processors.

Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at

Provost john hegarty with jim o'hara, general manager, intel