How to survive computing paradigm shift
We cannot count on free “performance lunch” anymore, but how about at least a pie for free? Do we need to throw all our old source-code into the trash bin and start over again?
Certainly, not. We may think of our old software as a zombie of the new multi-core era. Still there is a way to make the zombie walk, even walk faster. Of course we will need to rewrite our code sometime, but we may postpone this nasty need for a while.
The computing paradigm shift is now a fact we need to learn how to live with. It is unquestionable that processor manufacturers hit the barrier of 3 GHz. There pretty many news about spinning the CPU up to 5 GHz or so, but do not try to do so at home unless you got liquid nitrogen cylinder around. Over 3 GHz heat emission grows unreasonably making the CPU economically worthwhile.
So the only sensible way is now horizontal performance improvement, doubling the number of processing units. This means we can expect soon 128 core CPUs. Oh, wait they are here already; nVidia GeForce 9 series are perfect example of 128 core streaming processor.
Now how to keep up with things that happen so fast. First we need focus more on performance of our code. Something that was not important before, now cannot be ignored.