Software designers tend to be reluctant to begin writing complex code before plenty of hardware arrives to handle their applications. Such a strategy won't work out well in the context of the multi-core shift, according to Patterson. Those used to seeing performance increases in their code via GHz hikes will suffer from under-performing code that struggles to make its way across numerous, low-power chips. And we're talking about a problem that affects algorithms, programming languages, compilers, operating systems and libraries.
The RAMP project relies on much slower hardware, using 200MHz CPUs, but supposedly can still deliver accurate performance results. It has many backers, including players like IBM. If you want to read more about the RAMP project, read their site.