It is always a positive when the bigwigs of the tech industry can work together. These moments, though few in number, bring about innovations that improve computing capabilities. Such an alliance recently happened when seven tech behemoths all decided to create a means to deal with the vexing problem of cache incoherence.
What is cache incoherence?
Most users have multiple devices linked to their systems. Virtually everyone, whether business or individual, has computers, mobile devices, etc. Cloud technology complicates the situation even further. The back-and-forth sending of information, despite being invaluable, results in so-called cache incoherence.
Each software system (CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs) reads and copies the data, resulting in an unnecessary backlog. Currently, there is little way for the devices to work in tandem because developers produce them to be independent. The devices feel it necessary to copy the data as if it is the first time made available in the overall system. However, the user has access to the material somewhere else, making another copy redundant.
As one can discern, this redundancy results in overall slower productivity and wastes space. In contrast, cache coherence, in which the devices operate in full sync, would prove more efficient.
The Major Players
Advanced Micro Devices, ARM, Huawei, IBM, Mellanox, Qualcomm Technologies and Xilinx will align to bring about cache coherence beginning in 2017. At that time, the cohort will make available the Cache Coherence Interconnect for Accelerators (CCIX) technology. This interconnect should allow processors that run off different instructions to nevertheless share their data.
Since there has never been such an efficient system to date, experts are unable to discern just what the overall benefit will be of the interconnect. However, there is full agreement across the industry that this move is a positive step, saving time and money.
Software will no longer have to monitor data-sharing, something it was ill-equipped to do. Instead, data will move fluidly through systems automatically. Once people have a copy in place somewhere, they will have it backed up and available everywhere. Software will not have to translate the information into its own language, as it has, resulting in time lags.
More Teamwork Needed
That it has taken so long for the industry to bring about a better way to share data is a shame. Teamwork is a rarity in the ultra-competitive business world. Each company must defend its share of the market. One would expect no less. In general, consumers benefit from such a competitive model. These hi-tech giants have all been at the forefront of the computer revolution that has brought all the world a higher quality of life.
Nevertheless, we can only hope that there will be more cooperation from the giants of the industry in the future. As witnessed by this potentially revolutionary technology, when the top companies cooperate, innovation comes more rapidly than otherwise.
For now, everyone should be excited about what these leaders have done. Computing efficiency will increase over the next few years thanks to the seven leaders of industry.
Katrina is a computer savvy tech specializing in designing and manufacturing custom server racks with Rack Solutions