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An important trend in computing is the ongoing move towards system- and chip-level parallelism. Because of heat and power issues, it has become increasingly difficult to improve processor performance by increasing clock speeds. Therefore, in order to continue performance improvements, major processor manufacturers, such as Intel, AMD, IBM, and Sun Microsystems, have embraced multicore architectures, which combine several processing cores on a single chip. It is expected that most future commodity chips will consist of multiple cores. This development coincides with the emergence of applications for which both timing correctness and high performance are required. Examples include multimedia and entertainment applications and some business computing applications that require guaranteed transaction response times.
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