Two cores is cool. Four cores is impressive. Eight cores is ridiculous. But eighty cores? That's what Intel is saying they can accomplish in just half a decade, demonstrating a prototype chip at the IDF today. Boasting 1 trillion floating point operations per second, the prototype design relies on 80 cores, each operating at 3.16GHz. That's a teraflop processor, currently only achieved in distributed systems with thousands of nodes:

Intel's prototype uses 80 floating-point cores, each running at 3.16GHz, Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer, said in a speech following Otellini's address. In order to move data in between individual cores and into memory, the company plans to use an on-chip interconnect fabric and stacked SRAM (static RAM) chips attached directly to the bottom of the chip, he said.
That's more than just impressive. Parallel computing being brought to the desktop level? For sure, it would have to result in a massive shift in the way computers operate on a software level. How could they squeeze 80 cores into a package small enough to consider for use? Other companies, like Sun, are able to execute 8, 16 and 32 core processors, so with further reductions and increases in technology it's definitely a possibility. Keep your eyes peeled for 2011.