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Multi-core processors

n computing, there is no such thing as


50, if it's
too hard to put more transistors on the processors, there's
I
another solution: put more processors in the computer.
"enouqh",

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Multi~ore processors are like boltinq' a couple of computers


together and making them share the sa me memory, power and
inputjoutput.
Double the processing power of the computer, and more things
can be done at a faster speed. And, more importantly, more
things can be done at the same time because there is so much
extra processing power.
A machine with two processors from either AMDor Intel is the
standard today. 5ystems with four processors are available, and
lntel already has configurations with more processors in the works'.
An lntel quad-core processor combines two dies, or silicon
chips, in a single housing. The die is the silver tab you might
see on your processor. Each of the dies, in turn, has two
processor execution cores: the heart of any microprocessor and
the part that does the heavy work of executing instructions
from software. The two cores are twins to each other and to the
two other processors in the second die.
To gain the speed and other advantages possible with a
multiprocessor computer, the operating system running on
it must be designed to recognize that the PC has multi-core
processors, be able to distinguish them and know how to
handle operations such as hyper-threading'l.
5imilarly, software applications, games, and utilities need to be

TECHNICAL

ENGLlSH

.._-_

written to use multiple cores. 5uch software is referred to as


threaded or multi-threaded.
For example, the software adding a column of 4-place numbers
could divide the job into four threads, or strings of data,
adding the ls-place numbers, the 2s-place numbers, the
3s-place numbers, and the 4s-pLace numbers. Each of these
subtasks is directed to a different core. When the subtasks exit
the ceres. the operating system combines the threads into an
operation to combine them into a single number, and sends
that operation to one of the cores for execution.
If the application software isn't equipped to work in multiple
ceres. the operating system can stili take advantage of them.
It picks up one of the cores to run the software and create
an affinity between the core and the program. lt then creates
affinities between the remaining cores and various tasks. A
second core may handle background operations, such as disk
optimizing; a third core might supervise a download; and the
fourth could render a video to a different formato Neither the
operations nor their finish times are affected by the processing
going on in the other cores.
bolting: fastening two things together using a bolt (fissando due
cose insieme con un bullone)
2 in the works: being planned (in progettazione)
3 hyper-threading: tecnologia che distribuisce le risorse di un mi- ~
croprocessore fisico in due CPU logiche

..~_.

core

....-.I

die

...._-_..

thread

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11

Read the text, then answer the following questions.

What is a multi-core processor like?

What are the advantages of using a multi-core processor?

What does a quad-core processar consist of?

What does a computer need to take advantages of a multi processar computer?

;.:.","~

What is a thread?

What happens if the software is not designed to take advantage of multithreading?

12

Speaking
Work in groups of four. Split into two teams and surf the Net to find information about John
Von Neumann (team A) and George Boole (team B) who have played an important role in the history of
computers. Make notes and then relate the results of your findings to other pairs.

13

Work in pairs. Take turns to illustrate the computer's logic gates below.

Do you know of any other gate combinations? If so, draw them and illustrate them to other pairs.
ANO gate
A

2 Inpul ANO gale

AB

ANO
OR gate
A

B
44

A
O
O

B
O

1
1

1
1
0-

D
OR

A+B

O
O
1
1

AB
O
O
O
o

B
O

MB
O

1
1
1

O
1

O
1

NOT

'0

NOTgate

A---=-[:>o-A
NANO gate

o
;

1
O

2 lnput NANO gale

: D
NANO

AB

A
O
O
1
1

I
I

B
O
1
O
1

AB'