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One Processor, 128 32-bit Cores 122

Max Entropy writes: "EETimes reports that a German company named Pact GmbH has developed a chip containing 128 microprocessor cores as part of the company's 'Extreme Processor Platform' (XPP). 'Each of the XPP's 128 processor cores sports its own 32-bit fixed-point multiplier, yielding a theoretical output of 12.8 billion multiply-accumulate operations per second at an expected clock frequency of 100 MHz. Pact claims the architecture will scale to produce devices capable of more than 400 giga operations/s in 2002 and into the peta-ops range within a decade.' The transistor budget for this behemoth is 30M, fabricated on a 0.21-micron process." Of course, each one of those processor nodes is completely proprietary and requires some peculiar programming.
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One Processor, 128 32-bit Cores

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  • by resistant ( 221968 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:20AM (#715559) Homepage Journal

    'Each of the XPP's 128 processor cores sports its own 32-bit fixed-point multiplier, yielding a theoretical output of 12.8 billion multiply-accumulate operations per second at an expected clock frequency of 100 MHz. Pact claims the architecture will scale to produce devices capable of more than 400 giga operations/s in 2002 and into the peta-ops range within a decade.'

    Mother of God! The first time some fool runs Quake IV Slaughter on a Beowulf cluster of these puppies (you knew that had to get in here somewhere), it'll instantly self-evolve into Quake X^100 and wipe out the human race!

  • Yeah, but if you can check and discard possible methods of simulating the protein folding at a decent speed, you'll have more possibilities of finding the right algorithm
  • I love it! Computers can NEVER be too powerful! Those Sun E10K's over here are already starting to get old, IMHO.

    I always keep ten-year-old computer magazines around too; just to see what was state-of-the-art back then. I wonder how many years it would take to get people to laugh at the present day technology.
  • A spokesperson for Pact GmbH claimed the Extreme Processor Platform was "Most bitchin, radical and gnarly". The spokesperson continued "We've totally maxed those proc cores, and out backplane is decidedly off the planet. Our 32 bit multipliers open one extra deluxe can of whupass, and our combination back-flip most tiny fabrication process cuts it it so nice, you wanna hear it twice - they can do 40 k fakie axel grinds a sec, and the shiny future one's gonna do a k of vicious ops".

    When approached about the controversy surrounding the redundant second posting of an article concerning the chips to popular news-for-nerds site, the spokesperson responded: "Its all good".
  • It's not Rob's job to write new pieces of slash right now. Slash is open source, and as Rob stated over and over again in #forum last week, if someone adds a feature to the code, he will consider it.

    I suspect that if someone added a method of moderating articles, and defining user thresholds, it would make its way from slash to

    So, in short, if you want something done, do it yourself.
  • For instance, was there a whetstone test to obtain the MFLOPs reading? Seriously, 400 GIPs is worthless without at least 20 GFLOPs. The SETI team at UCB would certainly frown on this if the GIPs/GFLOPs ratio was horrendous; what they really want is a strong FPU for Fast-Fourier Transform operations.

    I'm waiting for a system that can churn out one SETI@Home unit (about 300K of data from Arecibo) per hour. Currently, it takes a nicely equipped P3 about 12 hours to process a unit.

    I know, I know, SETI@Home isn't everything. But it is a good way to get a glimpse at the level of FPU performance

  • The area of Palestine reserved for a Jewish state by Balfour et al. was less than 50% of the current area of Palestine at the time. Currently the Israelis are controlling over 100% of that area.

    That's the same as The United states of America expanding into Canada and Mexico.

    The US couldn't do that though, because they give their best assault weapons away - to the Israelis.
    That little gem from a reasonably highly ranked officerin the USAF. (who was complaining about how his men weren't well enough supplied)

    (Who's lived in the part of Palestine which was never supposed to be anything but Palestine).
  • This post and the first post are both funny. Lighten up.
  • As already mentioned, as Moore's law runs out of steam, something else will be needed. Besides, it really doesn't matter how long Moore's law still holds; for any extremely powerful single processor it still holds true that for certain problems X of them will be X times more powerful still. While the theoretical processing power of some as-yet-unimplemented molecuar or quantum computing devices could be quite high, it will still be very finite and fall short of the requirements of some types of processing--such as nuclear reaction simulations, for that next generation of smart atomic weapons that can single you out and kill you based on certain profiles.

    Besides, this 128 processor devices isn't really any different from most other multi-processing systems. The holy grail is still the development of smart compilers and algorithms that can allow even dumb programmers to write effective multi-processing code.
  • If you wish for your post to be taken seriously, then please talk sense.

    As far as I know the Athlon (note the spelling) only has three pipelines which can perform operations like multiplies. Where does your figure of 6 come from?
  • So, should I believe someone who indicates that they live in the region and have the ability to observer first-hand, or someone who tells stories without any validating information. Maybe the one with the most horrific story should win....

    You obviously don't know about the Palestinians flying bat-like through the streets and countrysides terrorizing children and sucking the very life from their veins, BITING GREAT CHUNKS OF FLESH FROM THEIR BODIES, impaling their heads on their car radio antennae and driving past their homes singing ribald songs using the dead child's name.

    Did I win?

  • Indeed. The interconnections are apparently modelled on FPGA connectivity (according to the story), and such chips have similar problems: routing delays can easily be 4 or 5 times logic delays. It's due in part to all the switches, which really slow the electrons down from the notional 2/3 c.

    On the other hand, you could fit hundreds of simple CPUs on a top of the range 2 million gate FPGA.

  • I must say the `goat-riding midgets named Louise` one really worked on my fitted my goat-riding midget friend Louise perfectly.

    She has a short attention span so the book was great. At regular intervals the book has in large letters "WAKE UP LOUISE YOU GOAT-RIDING MIDGET", or "HEY LOUISE YOU GOAT-RIDING MIDGET YOU BETTER READ THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH".

    It's a shame it wasn't a reference for the rest of us though.

  • No you didn't - get the [Nixonian Expletive Deleted] out from THEIR country.

    It might interest you to know that I don't live there. I was pointing out that one writer appears to have the advantage of first-hand observation while the other tells a horrific story with no validating information. That doesn't mean the story is false, but I hear so much garbage typed in ALL CAPS that turns out to be patently untrue that I have an aversion to unsubstantiated claims.

    (And you might be interested to know that I know about the region's history back a few thousand years, including the Bible (both OT and NT) and the Koran)

    Do you?

    While I don't boast an extensive knowledge of the Koran, yes, I do know the basics of the history of the region.

    I think you should believe someone from the outside, who has no real reason to prefer one sider over the other, and no religious reasons either ...

    And who would that be? You certainly don't sound like a neutral party. Just because the other party lives there now, they grew up in the US and likely have a perspective different than those who grew up in the region. Additionally, just because someone is an Israeli, does not mean that they are religiously inclined at all. The most balanced accounts seem to indicate there is fault on both sides. This is a conflict that has lasted for centuries and I doubt either side has a valid reason to continue beyond the obsessive retaliation for the latest retaliation for the last.... well, you get the picture.

  • Ass, Moore's Law is just a statement of what has happened - there's nothing magical or real about it. There's nothing that says that computers couldn't suddenly jump in capacity 10 times. Moore's Law happened, but it is no good for predicting the future.

  • Silly troll, trips are for tweekers.

    Name a time that Jews didn't inhabit that region since the Maccabinian revolt in that area in 400bc (was it 400bc?) When were all the Jews kicked out (every one of them?) Its my understanding that THEIR country had Jewish settlements even at the time that they were recognized as Palestine. So why should he/she get out, oh person knowledgable in THEIR history?
  • I think undisclosed would be a better term than proprietary in this case.
  • I propose we give the palestinians atomic weapons on par with Israel, and then let nature take its course. They will either be forced to finally make peace, or at least the mideast will then be very quiet, peaceful and still for the next thousand years.

    Bork! Bork! Bork!
  • Amen. In fact, I think I'm going to forward a link to this to a few of of the people I work with, who act as though MP is going to save the world. I actually made the same argument to them, that unless the programmers could learn to think differently about how they code, that we would never reap the benefit of MP. I think it's going to be a very hard transision for experienced coders, who have spent more time thinking in serial terms for their coding, than newer people just getting into the business.

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • The Mercurian processor SB-1250 [] mentioned yesterday has a peak rate of 16 GFLOPs (with only two processors on the chip) vs 12.8 Gig Fixed point operations. This 128 way fixed point stuff is much less impressive/useful in comparison.
  • They're not as biased as american or israeli media you know ...

    Classic mistake to make. Never assume that any news is any less biased than any other. Don't trust anything without questioning it, especially what is reported as "news". People are people the world over. If you see someone from country X do something shitty, you can bet it can happen in *your* country.


  • HOW the hell is this off-topic? it was a question about there hardware set-up! The moderators need to get there dang act together!
  • You should care. The x86 has had so much bolted onto it and the clock pushed up so high it's not that much of a surprise the 1.13GHz PIII ran out of steam recently. I program VLIW machines and there's some mileage left there, but I can see the writing on the wall; we need something else.

    We've got at least a decade of Moore's Law left and we have to find some way of really using huge chip complexities. Putting many processors on a die is simple enough for the hardware guys (not to underestimate what they do at all). Just bloating a processor to make use of a whole chip is do-able, but what do you suggest other than tons of cache?

    Figuring out how to use parallel processors is a big issue for the future IMHO. Maybe this one will bomb, but we should support their innovation.

    Also, programming weird architectures is fun and teaches you stuff - as an example I went to a lecture on optimising code ar Siggraph, people liked it, the content was good, but some of the stuff was already second nature to us VLIW programmers.

  • Since you are quick to point out IBM deserves credit also give Infineon credit where credit's due.
  • by The Dodger ( 10689 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:32AM (#715583) Homepage

    If you're interested in really extreme computing, check this [] out. IBM are building a petaflop system to simular protein folding.

    I attended a seminar by one of the senior IBM guys the other week in which he covered this project. It's going to be water-cooled, because, to cool it with air, they'd have to drive the air over the system at 140+ kph. Apparently the FAA got wind (no pun intended) of this and warned IBM that if they intended to blast air out of one of their buildings at 140kph, they'd better talk to the FAA first! :-)


  • What do you call a "proprietary" processor ?
    As opposed to a "standard" one ? How do you define a "proprietary" processor ? This statement is simply ridiculous, and has probably been expressed by someone who doesn't know what a processor is.
  • And here [] before that even...
  • Am I correct when I read that you are comparing the 100 watts of a complete chip to the 50 picowatts of one single molecular transistor? In that case, it doesn't make sense :-) To compare fairly you have to multiply it with 25 million or so (dunno exactly how many transistors fit on current chips)
  • The target of this product is telecommunications. (for more info see EE Times, The clock speeds and some features of the architectures are in line of embedded DSP (digital signal processors). Currently, the telecommunications industry employs racks and racks full of shelves of cards. Each card has several dozen processor cores, mostly DSP. Each core handles up to a few data streams (voice calls). Depending on where the rack is in the voice network (which is the worlds largest and most complicated computer network), it may do GSM-AMR decoding, mu-law conversion, and diversity handling, etc. As for the lower clock speeds- power consumption and cost are a big deal. When you can have a 200 Mhz DSP do the job, why got any faster?
  • Good point

    Enough dogma, for fucks sake.


  • Please read the following to understand EXACTLY what I was trying to say:
    SMP (Symmetrical Multi-Processing) is typically associated with high-end operating systems such as UNIX and NT running on high-end servers. These large monolithic systems tend to be quite complex, the result of many man-years of development. Since these large kernels contain the bulk of all OS services, the changes to support SMP are extensive, usually requiring large numbers of modifications and the use of specialized spinlocks throughout the code.
    Neutrino, on the other hand, contains a very small microkernel surrounded by processes that act as resource mangers, providing services such as filesystems, character I/O, and networking. By modifying the microkernel alone, all other OS services will gain full advantage of SMP without the need for coding changes. If these service-providing processes are multi-threaded, their many threads will be scheduled among the available processors. Even a single-threaded server would also benefit from an SMP system, because its thread would be scheduled on the available processors beside other servers and client processes.
    As a testament to this microkernel approach, the SMP version of Neutrino adds only a few kilobytes of additional code. This version, called procnto-smp, will boot on any system that conforms to the Intel MultiProcessor Specification (MP Spec) with up to 8 Pentium or Pentium Pro processors. The procnto-smp manager will also function on a single non-SMP system. With the cost of building a dual-processor Pentium motherboard very nearly the same as a single-processor motherboard, it's possible to deliver cost-effective solutions that can be scaled in the field by the simple addition of a second CPU. The fact that the OS itself is only a few kilobytes larger also allows SMP to be seriously considered for small CPU-intensive embedded systems, not just high-end servers.

    And Please visit the link m/s upport/docs/neutrino_qrp/sys_arch/smp.html []
    This would refute EVERYTHING that you said.
    Thank You.
  • True, but compare features of the image processing application that ran on de P75 with the application running on the 1Ghz. The CPU power is used somewhere.
  • Is there not an Alpha out there that uses this 3 cores on the chip or something?

    How every version of MICROS~1 Windows(TM) comes to exist.
  • Would it fit on my pentiummainboard???? Mark []
  • I thought the article looked like Deja 'vu or something like that!

    Maybe Slashdot should give him a 1 week vacation to think about what he's done.

    I guess the article begs the point: Why "benchmark" fixed point only? IIRC, the only major uses for super large systems is for FP operations. Decryption? I guess those are integer ops.

    The other matter is that 32 processor systems are probably best off left to 64 bit systems because of the 4GB limitation.

    A quick check of the other thread didn't seem to turn up these issues.
  • by Mawbid ( 3993 )
    Am I the only one disappointed by people's use of "kph" instead of "km/h"? I really think the m deserves to be included. Otherwise it's just kilos per hour.
  • No you didn't - get the f*ck out from THEIR country.

    (And you might be interested to know that I know about the region's history back a few thousand years, including the Bible (both OT and NT) and the Koran)

    Do you?

    I think you should believe someone from the outside, who has no real reason to prefer one sider over the other, and no religious reasons either ...

  • Any time I hear the little fragments of a phrase in a /. article that sound like "...expected..." "...will 2002..." and then goes on to talk about the budget for the project, my bullshit detector goes off.

    First of all, this is not an existent configuration. It's barely even an existent plan for a configuration. Secondly, it refers to a computing device that none of us will likely ever see or have any reason to see.

    You know guys, it's okay to let a few hours go by without a news story, if there's nothing really going on. I know the trolls will get lonely, but what do you care?

  • Will Taco flame me on IRC for this? Damn, I hope so!

    To this day, I cannot understand why the powers that be feel that it is beneath them to participate in the discussion threads.

    I just don't get it. Oh well, another item for the list.
  • A now defunct company called Masspar of Santa Clara California developed a massively parallel computer based on putting dozens of CPUs on a single chip. They were trying to beat Thinking Machines, a defense department funded massively parallel company, that was looking good at the time. Masspar had a nice mchine and several dozen customers. However, as with most of the 1980s and early 90s "mini-super" business, the people who made custom CPUs and ASICs could not keep up with the commodity CPU super-clusters (ironically pioneered by Thinking Machines). At best a custom company could engineer a new generation every three years, while Intel (Sun, IBM and MIPs) come out with a new chip on an annual basis or faster. These mini-supers were often obsolete by the time they shipped.
  • You don't need anything so fancy.

    Just analyze the responses to the editor's articles and rank them by the cumulative karma gains of all respondents. Editors whose articles generate lots of interesting, insightful and funny quotes score high, editors whose articles generate lots of flamebait score low.
  • What I think it means is that the company does not plan to release an details about the architecture of the small internal processors. It's similar to Transmeta's chip: On the outside it looks like an x86 chip, but on the inside it's some funky VLIW architecture. They don't want people programming directly to the internal archtecture (i.e. it's proprietary), because it may/will change with each new chip.

  • UN gave the Palestinian country away to the JUws ... I wouldn't like it if my country was given away.

    BTW, the other reply you got was correct - you don't know the truth. You apparently don't know about Palestinian kids (age Leave Palestine to the Palestinians - they lived there before you did.

  • The ever-sexy Connection Machine used bit serial processors. At least in the first generation, get-me-a-thesis version. Later versions that had to be applicable to more than fluid dynamics used commodity cpus, I believe.

    Can anyone summarize why they went belly up? Too hard to program? What was their value-added, after they moved to Centinode commodity CPU systems. Doesn't everyone and their brother have huge systems? Or was CM special in that it had a good architecture for Shared memory busses (based on the hypercube, at least in mk 1)?
  • You apparently don't know about Palestinian kids ...

    Right, and neither does anybody else. Care to make up another one. Halloween is coming up.

  • The probable reason why this chip and most massively reconfigurable chips have low clock rates is that they have huge tangles of internal routing to allow signals to flow from any internal point to any other point. Delay in modern processors is much more dependant on interconnect (wires) than devices (transistors), so all of this interconnect they need to achieve full reconfigurability causes long critical paths and low clock rates. The trick, as pointed out by the designers of the Remove and PipeRench architectures (both purely academic research efforts so far) is to provide enough local interconnect to allow a wide array of applications to run while limitting the interconnect to a allow the clock to run more quickly.

  • Another proposal: negative moderation. You moderate a Slashdot poster below a negative number, their account is booted off the site.

    You moderate an editor below a negative number, they are booted off the site. :)

  • the hell there won't be beowulf references!!

    Wow! Could you imagine a beowulf cluster of these?!?
  • it refers to a computing device that none of us will likely ever see or have any reason to see.

    That is... unless you want to drive a Realtek 8139 at full 100BaseTX speeds.
  • by wmoyes ( 215662 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @12:36AM (#715608)
    Lets see. There is a mention of this that is still on the front page []. Uhm... you guys really need to get together and talk, or at least read Slashdot before you post new articles.
  • The Isralei and US media have a _reason_ for being biased. Swedes don't, when it comes to the Middle East ... last time we were there was when we slaughtered everyone in the name of Christ ...

  • Overclock it. ;]
  • Read up on Moses ... *g*

  • Despite the proprietary nature of this beast, the concept has not been patented (as far as I could determine in US or Europe). Hopefully, this concept will be expanded to general platforms in short order. The possibilities of load balancing low-level operations is quite interesting.
  • What's the name of their seti@home team? This thing could crunch data in a matter of seconds...
  • We discovered america, enough? *g*

  • by wmoyes ( 215662 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @12:49AM (#715615)
    Hey CmdrTaco, if you are in the mood to fix-up the moderation system, why not add a new feature, moderate the editors. Imagine, the editors that post good articles (not repeats) would receive promotions and bonuses, and those who karma drops too low will get fired.

    Seriously, the editors need to start reading Slashdot more often. I know timothy posted this at 5:23 AM and he probably wasn't thinking clearly, but the quality of the articles is becoming a joke.

    I have lost count of the number of duplicate articles that appeared on the same day. Or is this a side effect of Slashdot getting hacked (rouge processes non-deterministically posting articles)

  • Whilst I'm sure that this processor offers a lot of horsepower, the face that it will be so difficult to program is already making it look like next year's big failure. It's never easy to break into the processor market which is saturated at all levels by established products from well-known companies, and making a chip that requires new programming techniques is hardly going to make this a cost-effective solution for 99% of hardware vendors.

  • How fast does it chomp on a SETI Block? :)
  • I'll see your suggestion and take it a level higher -- I'd like to see a set of adjectives (and I mean a large set, not the 3 or 4 applicable to existing moderation) such as "repeat" and give everyone a chance to apply one of them to a specific story. Stories scoring more than my set threshold on a set of descriptors could be seen or hidden.

  • Hm ... i don't agree completely. I skimmed the specs and there are also traditional (risc? don't remember exactly) cpu cores in the chip, so the bulk of the program can be coded the traditional way and only for the time critical part you use the special stuff ...
  • Yeah! Overclock it until to maximise speed x number_of_cores. Accept the loss of a few processing units if the total speed increases sufficiently.
  • Didn't we cover that here []?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm posting this twice.

  • Interesting idea. However, it is not at all clear that the system will be a commercial success. Many algorithms that are great for serial processors will be suboptimal on a massively parallel system.

    What the company needs to do, IMHO, is find a way to smooth the programming interface so that people don't have to learn obscure propriety languages to have a usable compiler. If a mainframe can make multiple processors look like a single one to a programmer, maybe they can too!

    As for process and clock speed, their low specs are sensible. It is much easier to fab a processor with low specs. The advantage this thing has should come from its massive parallelism, not from trying to beat Intel and AMD at their own game.

    Now for the obligatory idiotic comment: IMAGINE a BEOWULF cluster of THESE!!!

    hee hee....

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm posting this twice.
  • You're right. SETI@Home wouldn't run particularly well on this beast, and it certainly wouldn't be worth the trouble to code., on the other hand, would fly, as both ogr and rc5-cracking rely almost exclusively on integer arithmetic (from what I understand).

    Of course, this is probably irrelevant, since we're unlikely to ever see these processors in a desktop system.
  • I think we should have a new moderation option - and that it should apply to stories:

    Score -1, BEOWULF BAIT

  • So how fast can you get data on and off this thing? How big is the cache per processor? What is the bandwidth and latency? The bottleneck in most parallel tasks is inter-processor communication. Beowulf (drat - I vowed I'd never say it) is cheap because compromises have been made w.r.t. bandwidth and latency between processors - that's great, but it makes it a poor choice for some tasks. Presumeably, this thing will have other compromises, and, IMHO, until we know what they are, it's not really possible to make any kind of reasoned judgement about what it can be used for...
  • This is specialized hardware. NASA used to have similar beasts with 2^16 16 bit ALUs for satellite image processing. Not on one chip of course. On multiple.
  • Moore's Law happened, but it is no good for predicting the future.

    Intel [] seem to think so - I quote from the Intel page I provide a link to:

    Moore's observation, now known as Moore's Law, described a trend that has continued and is still remarkably accurate. It is the basis for many planners' performance forecasts.

    26 years of evidence show the number of transistors increasing over time. It won't continue for ever, most people think we have another decade. So I'm saying we need to come up with ideas on how to best use those transistors. If we are uninspired over the next decade, there's a danger that the computing horsepower (eg MIPS or some such vague metric) won't scale.

    Or are we arguing in Philosophy 101? I guarantee that the sun will rise on Friday 13th October 2000. Sigh.

  • Each ALU runs at 100Mhz. Why so slow ? It makes the chip much less impressive than it seems. I think that an Athalon can theoretically perform 6 integer multiply-accumulates per clock cycle. A 1Ghz Athalon then can theoreticaly perform 6 giga multiply-accumulates per second. The XPU128 theoretically perform 12Giga multiply-accumulates per second. Twice as fast. Big deal. So why is the XPU128 clock rate so slow ????????? Athalon info:
  • What happened to russian merced-killer E2K?
  • I know that this is offtopic, but since this article/thread is pretty much a repeat, I figure that we can use a bit of lively (and hopefully intelligent) debate.

    I'm replying to your signature and not your post.

    I hate to break it to ya buddy, but us big, bad Jews over here in the Middle East are not picking on anyone. This entire nonsense war started because there is a particularly nasty individual in our Government name Arik Sharon. He went to take a gander at a holy site shared by Jews and Muslims, knowing that it would provoke a reaction from some of the extremists in that region. He got it.

    Palestinians all over the country have taken it upon themselves to make that incident a rallying point. There has been completely out of control rioting all over the country, first starting in areas where Jews and Arabs live closely together and the tensions are high, like in Haifa and in the North, and moving steadily to the larger cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (where I live and work).

    Most of these casualties and deaths that the Palestinians are toting on TV as 'deaths of innocents' are RIOTERS getting shot while they are throwing rocks at people and private property and setting fire to houses and buildings.

    Granted, Israelis havn't exactly been angels during this episode -- burning houses owned by Arabs and generally being assholes -- this was provoked by rioters coming to our very doorsteps and making our lives unsafe.

    Let me leave you with a few questions:

    Why hasn't Arafat publicly ordered the masses to calm down? (Hint: it has a lot to do with organizing a sovereign palestinian state)

    Why is the media biased against Israel? (Could it be because of the IDF being a superior military force, and all those poor, little (uhm, ya, little.. i guess) countries completely surrounding us are defenseless, backwards third-world countries? Well, anyone that isn't the US MUST be third-world, right?)

    Growing up in the South in the US, I heard a lot of uninformed and racist things but this takes the cake. It's not the USA and Israel that are big bullies, it's your media channels. They distort the facts to sell a war which sells ratings. Shame on you, you should know better than to listen to the media.

  • Great. Nobody knows how a protein folds, what's important, what other bits of cellular machinary are involved and so on. All this means is they can calculate a answer which is probably wrong a hell of a lot faster than they used to be able to. Garbage in, garbage out.
  • Am I the only one annoyed by "Extreme" this and "Extreme" that?

    "Crunch your numbers with the [bad rock starts playing, strobing colored lights] Extreme Processor Platform!!! D00D!!"

    Maybe it's just me.
  • Maybe it's a Beowulf cluster of Timothies causing the duplication: massively parallel articles?
  • by Jacques Chester ( 151652 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @02:19AM (#715636)
    Those of you who read the comments closely will notice that the links embedded in highly-modded posts often pop up as stories soon thereafter.

    If I were a Troll Brigadier, I might seriously think about posting stories straight into comments, and then having them "voted on" by moderators. Hence (once again!) you've hijacked Slashdot.

    Will Taco flame me on IRC for this? Damn, I hope so! Think of the Dark Side Geek Aura!

    be well;


    "Don't declare a revolution unless you are prepared to be guillotined." - Anon.

  • UN gave the Palestinian country away to the Jews ... I wouldn't like it if my country was given away.

    BTW, the other reply you got was correct - you don't know the truth. You apparently don't know about Palestinian kids (age &lt 10 years) abducted by settlers - beaten to death, burnmarks all over their bodies - FLESH CUT OUT FROM THE BODIES - left at their parents doorsteps.

    Leave Palestine to the Palestinians - they lived there before you did.

  • Agreed - but it's not just a case of tweaking an existing algorithm - something pretty major needs to happen in terms of intellectual leaps. This suggests that design time is going to be far greater than runtime.
  • I totaly agee with this poster.
    Please CmdrTaco at least think about it, the cantity of storys-per-day had increased lately but the quality is dropping.
    I love Slashdot and don't want it to become just-another-news place...

    Thank you for your time.
  • I posted this in the last story about this chip, but I think I was too late for anyone to notice, so I'll post it again.

    This is an interesting architecture, but I don't think you'll see it in a personal computer any time soon. You have to program in one of two funky dataflow oriented languages to use this beast. The company says they will have a C compiler out by next year, but the job of mapping a C program onto an architecture like this efficiently is incredibly compilcated. I would be surprised if they managed to get 1/4 of the efficiency out of a complex algorithm written in C, vs. the same algorithm written in their own programming language.

    I am currently involved in some research in which we are trying to solve the same problem, roughly. However, we are trying to make the change as transparent to users (i.e. compiler writers & assembly code writers) as possible by making small tweaks to the standard RISC concept that will allow our chip to extract large amounts of parallelism. It is clear that with these reconfiguration based architectures it is possible to have huge performance gains at the expense of programming complexity. Hopefully our architecture will be to these reconfigurable systems what superscalar was to VLIW. VLIW has been around for a long time, but it wasn't popularized until architects came up with ways of making a VLIW core look like a scalar processor to the outside world.

    We'll see.

  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @04:14AM (#715641) Homepage Journal
    Doug Brown at the University of Illinois back in the 70s was interested in taking the "Illiac" approach as far as possible, and conceived of massively parallel bit serial CPUs on a single chip. All the adders were single bit with feedback on the carry. I think the multipliers couldn't be made serial so they would have used 32 serial CPUs to construct a single 32*32 multiplier.

    He eventually went to work around Beaverton Oregon for one of those silicon foundries, but I think he got more interested in parallel, hardware regular expression evaluators.

  • It's horses for courses.

    In the past I've programmed the TI C80MVP which was a multi-processor chip. It had 4 Integer DSP chips (32bit, 64bit accumulator) and a Master/FP chip all on one slab of silicon. Each of the DSP cores was pipelined so as to permit 3 simultanious MACCs (multiply and add in one operation - a side effect of the multiplication algorithm used is that you can squeeze in an extra addition _for free_). Therefore the chip could (should!) have 12 simultanious multiplies on the go.

    That was back in the early/mid 90s.

    A factor of 10 in 7 years - that's less than Moore's law.

    TI obsoleted the chip years ago. It was a dog to program. I believe the C6000 series superseded (that's the correct spelling, BTW, fr L. Sedere, to sit) it. The C6000 series was intended to be as powerful but far easier to program.

  • The code is open source, the site itself is not. Rob and the other editors are unlikely to add anything to slashdot the site (like the much-desired editor/article moderation) that would take away from the ego boost of being a Slashdot editor.

    What's the point of being CmdrTaco if you put your ego into a "geek story" only to see it at -1 an hour later?

    Personally I'd use a 1 (bad) to 5 (great) scoring system for articles and have the main page display the newest 20 articles at or above a user's browse level. Maybe have an option to display non-conforming stories with fewer than N comments so that new or small-comment-level stories aren't skewed by weird scoring.
  • Ha ha, imagine a Beowulf Cluster of...

    ...aww, fuck it.

  • I don't understand the people who moderate posts like this down. Isn't Slashdot about news for nerds? And isn't it nerdy to salivate over high-end computing hardware? And if we built a Beowulf Cluster out of these bad boys with Linux as the OS, wouldn't that be extremely nerdy? Hell, wouldn't it be cool?!

    I'm imagining a Beowulf Cluster of these. And I'm imagining running dozens of instances of any client. Oh hellz yeah =)
    Lord Omlette
    ICQ# 77863057
  • But not with the benefit of a linked article in English.

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • Maybe I should post this as a separate thread, but your post made me think about it, so here goes.

    An old saying is that if you find a way to make an O(n^2) operation into an O(n lg n) one, the world will beat a path to your door finding ways to use it. It was originally said about FFT, which is used in any number of situations where you wouldn't expect it.

    Anyways, I've been wondering about cellular simulations, like fluid dynamics or nuclear modelling.

    How feasable would it be to make a special purpose SIMD chip that takes a simplish formula and applies it to each a large number of cells. The driving insight behind this proposition is that a cell has fairly predicable communication needs, so that you can hard wire efficient communications, and also that a n-way multicell (as would be expressed as a unit of silicon in my proposition) has comm needs that rise as n, but contains n^2 functional units. So the bigger you can make it, the cheaper communication becomes.

    So this would be a very specialised peice of computing machinery. My question to you lot is how applicable the "beating a path to your door" would be. Can cellular computing be applied to much appart from the game of life?
  • Moses never entered (then Caanan). Joshua led the invasion (2000bc?). That was well before the Maccabees returned to now Israel after the Babylonian captivity (6?0bc).

    Try again. Surely someone as well versed as you would know.
  • by jmccay ( 70985 )
    I remember a couple of years ago seeing something like this that was not so specialized. It don't remember exactly what it was called. Basically it contained multiple CPU layed out in a grid pattern, and switches were used to direct the flow through the chip. It could allow mapping from several entry points allowing more than one process to be going at a time. Anyone else remember what I am talking about? I can't seem to find the information anymore.
  • It's somewhat strange. Whenever a new piece of good hardware is published, everybody seems to think: "When can I use it for playing quake?".

    Hardly anyone thinks of the possibility that there are potential customers that surely will buy this processor, because they simply need it and can't get around this need with other means?

    Just think of wheather forecast, or scientific simulations.

  • by Frac ( 27516 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:02AM (#715655)
    Timothy doesn't read Slashdot
    Posted by timothy [] on 04:20 AM April 1st, 2001
    from the at-least-read-the-front-page dept.

    Frac writes: "It seems rather obvious that timothy doesn't read Slashdot, considering that the an article still on the main page [] mentions the exact same news." Interesting stuff. And in other news, there are now proton polymer batteries available [], results from ICANN elections [], and a really interesting article at ZDNET on reverse-engineering [].
  • > This would refute EVERYTHING that you said.

    It's interesting that in the three lengthy paragraphs preceding your link you don't offer a single valid explanation for why even single-threaded apps would benefit from SMP, only strong assertions that such would be the case. In fact, the three paragraphs smack suspiciously of marketing-speak, conveniently sidestepping anything resembing an argument.

    Microkernels are great, not many people would dispute that, but what the hell do they have to do with SMP per se? In order for an efficient MP architecture (be it symmetrical, distributed etc) to be effective, applications have to be coded to take advantage of it. This includes multi-threading it in meaningful ways. Just putting QNX and Neutrino on your system won't make your linear app any more efficient than running it under DOS--except for the GUI being more responsive, possibly. Just because system resources are multi-threaded doesn't mean squat--your app is still sitting around waiting for disk-bound operations to complete, no matter how those are implemented.

    Unless you know how to effectively multi-thread your app, neither QNX nor BeOS will do much to improve your code. You can make any assertions and include any links to the opposite you want, but that's a pretty fundamental tenet of current OSs.
  • I think it should be 2 dimensional.

    Not only a rating of 1 to 5, but also also a topical rating that does not directly affect score. F'rinstance, this story could be marked "Repeat". Others could be marked "This is not news" etc.

    Numbers could be important for threshold, but it would be great to automagically ignore all stories marked "repeat" even though I'd often like to see stories that others don't find worthwhile on my front page.
  • Just ignore the articles you are not interested in and don't post to the ones you don't like. Beating up the editors is not going to get anyone anywhere. If you really don't like someone's writing, change your prefernces.

    I was kind of looking forward to more and easier to find information on the big chip here. Instead, I find all of these complaints which are even less interesting than other chip news.

  • This kind of thing is great for Monte Carlo techniques. Uses include transport calculations (medical imaging, reactor design) and multidimensional integration. Over a few dimensions MC kicks ass. The idea behind both is psuedo random number generation. In particle transport, you randomly pick directions and interactions and compare them to statistics. If something has a 1/3 chance and your random number is .24, the event did not happen. The result of many of these random interactions will simulate the real thing. The more random numbers you can generate the better your results get or the more detail you can put into your problem. With a proper seed chart, each of these 128 processors can compute your cases indepenently. The results can be summed into something that is much better than a single machine. The software is simple for this very useful application.

    Compared to the power consumed by many boxes, a cluster of these things will be a very useful tool. I can imagine 10 of these in a single box doing great work. It will be very nice when they scale up the clock speed.

  • This souns a lot more impressive than it really is. Getting all these processors to actually do something useful isn't easy. The posted maximum number of operations/second is for pure calculations only. A lot of real life applications, even if they are scalable to a large number of processors still need to have access to large data structures.

    Having to use a special language is going to shy people away as well. Anybody remember transputers ? Occam ?

    These processors, made by small start-ups also have lots of real-life issues that need to be solved. For example, you also need a good motherboard, with appropriate chip sets to access peripherals (network/hard disks) as well as a high-bandwidth memory bus. Who's going to make those ? Also, what's the quality of the development tools, like the compiler? Even if all those obstacles are overcome, users still need to spend time and money to get acquainted with this platform, and they are risking that the manufacturer(s) will be out of business a couple of years later.

    For applications requiring more than just pure calculations, it's not going to be easy to offer a solution that offers users more value for money than a bunch of networked SMP machines based on off-the-shelf hardware, and using development tools that they are already used to, and can be assumed to be bug-free.

  • by uradu ( 10768 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @08:55AM (#715679)
    Before you go off on tirades, maybe analyse what you're about to say first. First, there's nothing magical about QNX or BeOS. Sure, BeOS apps may be automatically multithreaded, but only in a relatively superficial way (by putting the message loop into a separate thread if I'm not mistaken). BeOS certainly doesn't take your linear code and somehow magically extract multiple threads of execuion--you still have to do the leg work. Same with QNX. Same with WinNT/2K, if you multi-thread you apps, they will spread quite nicely across CPUs (though HOW nicely is a matter of debate for the religious). Don't get me wrong, I think what BeOS is doing is perfectly fine and laudable, but it's not exactly what you're implying.

    The fact is, in you model the unit of execution is the thread. What you yourself don't know how to de-serialise and pull into separate threads (and properly synchronise), the compiler or OS certainly won't do for you. So even if your app is multithreaded, if your threads are big fat chains of serial code, the app won't benefit any from multiple CPUs. The holy grail of MP is a compiler that could, for a trivial example, look at your loop and be able to unroll it into x smaller loops working on subunits of the data.

    One of the big promises of MP is to avoid the end of Moore's law through parallel computing, IN GENERAL PURPOSE COMPUTERS, not just arcane research machines. We already know how to tickle esoteric MP hardware today into doing our bidding, but it's no trivial task and takes a lot of skill. If MP is to give us a mainstream migration path from single processing, it can't expect more from programmers than they can give today. In other words, MP machines will have to deliver even with mediocre programmers, because they form the bulk of the work force. You can't stipulate as a condition for effective MP an overall higher quality work force, because it ain't happening.
  • by Stephen Samuel ( 106962 ) <samuel AT bcgreen DOT com> on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:19AM (#715680) Homepage Journal
    It's going to be different to program, but not horribly difficult. I know that, in the 1980's Myrias Corp. [] was intending to build 4000 processor machines. They did a lot of work on the concept of parallelization of various processes.

    Note that this is NOT necessarily a general-purpose system. It seems currently intended more for high-volume data manipulation. On the other hand, I think that it would do a peachy job on many image rendering problems (for ray tracing, you could assign one processor to a group of rays). It would also be great for multi-threaded applications (Each process gets a handfull of processors). For Seti@Home, I think that it would kick butt. On the other hand, it would suck on a single task that was indivisibly serial (only a handfull of the 128+ processors doing anything).

    Note that some processes that seem inherently serial (summing data from a single stream) are actually quite parallelizable (N processors each gets 1/Nth of the stream and pass their intermediate results, on demand, to a supervisor processor that totals the intermediate values.)

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