SAN JOSE, Calif. The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EMBC) has started work on a standard suite of tests to measure performance of multicore processors. The ad hoc industry consortium expects the benchmarks could be available in six to eight months.
Industry leaders have been calling for new ways to measure microprocessors which are now routinely using multiple cores.
At the Hot Chips conference in August, Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at Intel Corp., said the industry has no quantitative benchmark to measure issues such as scalability and energy efficiency of multicore processors in applications such as data mining, recognition and synthesis. Intel is working with Princeton University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford to create such tests, he said.
The EMBC effort will initially focus on homogenous multicore architectures that use multiple instances of the same core. Future efforts may look at processors that use a variety of different kinds of cores.
The benchmarks will focus on two areas, digital media and voice over Internet Protocol. They may appear as one or multiple suites of tests that will let users plug in their own custom or third-party tests of multi-threaded software.
"We've been discussing this for more than a year and just recently started development on it. It's probably a 6-8 month project," said Markus Levy, president of EMBC.
Formed in 1997, EMBC is a consortium of more than 50 mainly semiconductor companies that publishes performance benchmarks of embedded processors. Members include Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, Nokia, Sony and Sun Microsystems.