What multicore and longitude have in common

We need to develop tools for those brave enough to develop multicore systems.

A guest column by By Larry Lapides, Imperas Ltd.

In a column a year ago (www.embedded.com/201800330), Bernie Cole compared the state of multicore software tools to the Charge of the Light Brigade: current tools "are as outdated and useless as the sabers, one-shot pistols, and horses of the ill-fated 600 were against cannon, repeating rifles, and mechanized equipment they rode against."

While it's not a bad comparison, perhaps a better analogy may be navigating by sea. First, we figured out that the world was round. Then we developed tools to measure longitude to actually figure out where we had come from, where we were, and where we were going. Prior to that, sailors mostly kept within sight of shore or risked getting lost and foundering on some unexpected rocky shore. Those famous sailors, such as Columbus, Magellan, and Cook who successfully navigated large distances over open water, owed their success to luck and pluck more than knowing with certainty where they were and where they were going. And for all the successes we learned about in our history books, there were many more navigational failures.

In addition to death and human suffering due to scurvy, as Dava Sobel points out in her book Longitude, " the global ignorance of longitude wreaked economic havoc on the grandest scale." Ships crossing the oceans were confined to a few well-known passages, well known by the pirates and navies in addition to the merchants.

Similarly with multicore, designers have kept close to shore, adding more processing power only to use it for a new, specified application. No sharing of those...

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