Designing Efficient Processor Cores for Multicore Networking

Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013
Hamerschlag Hall 1107
4:30-6.30 pm

Rick Kessler (Cavium)


The design of CPUs has always required a balance of performance and efficiency in power, area, and complexity. The emergence of multicore SoCs armed with accelerators for packet processing has shifted this balance from solely single-thread performance to a combination of single-thread performance and efficient parallel processing. This shift requires a new style of core with short and deterministic pipelines, caches and memory systems optimized for low latency and high bandwidth, and an architecture that scales to 48-plus cores on a chip. This talk demonstrates how continuously emerging application demands shaped the fundamental principles behind OCTEON processor cores and supporting on-chip accelerators.

Break-out Session for Students and Advisors: Cavium is building a community of university and industry partners around the 32-core OCTEON II solution, with evaluation boards in use by students and professors at several universities globally. This break-out session for students will be conducted at the conclusion of the talk above to describe the evaluation board hardware, the Cavium SDK, and various semester-long student projects appropriate for upper level undergraduates or first year masters students. Other aspects of the OCTEON program will be briefly described, including a multi-university workshop planned in May for students to present their OCTEON project and compete for the OCTEON Trophy.


Richard E. Kessler is a Cavium Fellow and a principal architect of Cavium processor chips. The Cavium OCTEON and Thunder product lines are highly-integrated multi-core processors for intelligent networking, communications, storage, video, security, and server applications. Prior to joining Cavium Networks, Richard was a chip architect in the Digital/Compaq Alpha Group, and a supercomputer architect at Cray Research. Dr. Kessler holds a Ph.D. in Computer Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has been awarded more than 50 patents.

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