NEC's new multicore CPU can thread non-threaded applications

Multicore is coming, no question about it. But today, the benefit of multicore processors is very limited as such CPUs need threaded applications to take advantage of the additional horsepower. NEC now says that it has developed a processor that automatically enables threading in any application - without the need to recompile or re-develop software.

The company said that it uses an "automatic parallelizing compiler" that uses profile information of software to "exploit parallelization patterns." This parallelization process is completely speculative, but, according to NEC, "almost always accurate."

The "speculation hardware" is implemented as safety net by handling any "rare" misses, guaranteeing the correctness of the execution. As a result, NEC said, the compiler is "not conservative" in decisions concerned with these cases, resulting in an increase in the amount of parallelism exploited.

The company did not provide any specific benchmark data, but said its automatic parallelization was able to accelerate some applications by 183%, while manual parallelization - recompiling the single-threaded program into a multi-threaded application - yielded only 95%.

There was no indication when the technology may show up in commercial products.