Monday, December 18, 2006
It's been a long time since I last bought a new computer (21 months, to be exact, a record for me in the last 10 years!) - but I just did it again: I got myself a new laptop with an Intel Core Duo CPU - unfortunately not one of the even better Core 2 Duos. However, even this machine is absolutely great! Cake runs about as fast on my Core Duo at 2GHz as on my Athlon 64 at 2GHz. But the cool thing is that I can run two instances of Cake at the same speed, if I want to. Not that this really helps me in any way... it just shows why these dual core machines are so cool. The days of single core CPUs are numbered (as far as PCs go, anyway), and the first quad-cores for consumers are already on the market. Which gives me a bit of a headache, because it means that I should try to rewrite Cake so that it can use these new CPUs with multiple cores! All good chess programs have this capability, but the only checkers program that I know of that could use multiple processors was Chinook. However, the speedup from multiple processors there was quite lousy compared to what is reported for chess programs. For chess, it's something like 1.9x faster for dual cores and 3.5x faster for quad-cores, for Chinook it was approximately 3x faster on 16 CPUs . It's not quite clear to me whether checkers is inherently tougher to parallelize than chess or whether the implementation in Chinook was poor. Any opinions?