18. Multithreading

PRIOR TO 2004, increasing computer power primarily involved increasing the power of a single processor. Limits imposed by the physics of today’s silicon microchip technology have forestalled further increases in the power of single processors. Figure 18.1 shows the plateau and even a small drop back, as the threshold of computing power versus heat dissipation stabilized to more maintainable levels.

Figure 18.1: Clock Speeds over Time. (Graph compiled by Herb Sutter. Used with permission. Original at www.gotw.ca.)


In spite of the plateau, computer power continues to grow and Moore’s Law remains on track as multiple cores (within ...

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