The industry trend toward multi-core processors is picking up steam, and for good reason. Compared to conventional uniprocessor chips, multi-core processors deliver significantly greater compute power through concurrency, offer greater system density, and run at lower clock speeds, thereby reducing thermal dissipation and power consumption. Already, multi-core processors have taken center stage in the product lineups of several major semiconductor vendors, who are now offering chips with two, four, or even eight integrated cores.

Effective utilization of multi-core technology will profoundly improve the performance and scalability of networking equipment, control systems, videogame platforms, and a host of other embedded applications. It will also profoundly affect the legions of systems designers and software engineers who have cut their teeth on uniprocessor designs, but have little or no expertise in multiprocessing environments.