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One Processor, 128 32-bit Cores

timothy posted about 14 years ago | from the no-beowulf-references-necessary dept.

Technology 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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Quake Platform -- RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! (3)

resistant (221968) | about 14 years ago | (#715559)

'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!

Re:IBM's Blue Gene project (1)

aTMsA (188604) | about 14 years ago | (#715560)

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

Cool! New technology! (1)

Cihl (241861) | about 14 years ago | (#715561)

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.

The Extreme Processor Platform explained (1)

Nailer (69468) | about 14 years ago | (#715562)

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".

Re:New moderation proposal (2)

TheTomcat (53158) | about 14 years ago | (#715563)

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.

More performance stats are necessary. (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | about 14 years ago | (#715564)

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

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 14 years ago | (#715565)

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).

C'mon moderators! (1)

dwalsh (87765) | about 14 years ago | (#715566)

This post and the first post are both funny. Lighten up.

You should, for one (2)

uradu (10768) | about 14 years ago | (#715567)

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.

Re:Why is the clock rate so slow ? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 14 years ago | (#715568)

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?

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

carlos_benj (140796) | about 14 years ago | (#715569)

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?

Re:Why is the clock rate so slow ? (1)

SquidBoy (208635) | about 14 years ago | (#715570)

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.

Re:C'mon moderators! (1)

King of the World (212739) | about 14 years ago | (#715571)

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.

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

carlos_benj (140796) | about 14 years ago | (#715572)

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.

Re:Who cares? Think about Moore's Law! (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 14 years ago | (#715573)

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.

You say 'Get out of Their Country'? (1)

On Lawn (1073) | about 14 years ago | (#715574)

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?

Re:*Proprietary* ? (1)

Ded Bob (67043) | about 14 years ago | (#715575)

I think undisclosed would be a better term than proprietary in this case.

Modest solution. (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about 14 years ago | (#715576)

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!

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 14 years ago | (#715579)

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.


Re:Who cares? Think about Moore's Law! (2)

Ella the Cat (133841) | about 14 years ago | (#715581)

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.

IBM's Blue Gene project (3)

The Dodger (10689) | about 14 years ago | (#715583)

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! :-)


*Proprietary* ? (2)

javaDragon (187973) | about 14 years ago | (#715584)

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.

Re:Here we go again ... (NortonDC gets the scoop!) (1)

Howie (4244) | about 14 years ago | (#715585)

And here [] before that even...

Re:Molecular-Scale Electronics (1)

Rolu (183097) | about 14 years ago | (#715586)

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)

Re:*Proprietary* ? (1)

lucius (189447) | about 14 years ago | (#715588)

Good point

Enough dogma, for fucks sake.


Re:IBM's Blue Gene project (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | about 14 years ago | (#715590)

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.

Re:Moore's Law (1)

mallie_mcg (161403) | about 14 years ago | (#715591)

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.

Cool... (1)

H*rus (237994) | about 14 years ago | (#715592)

Would it fit on my pentiummainboard???? Mark []

Holy cow, Batman! (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 14 years ago | (#715593)

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.

"kph" (1)

Mawbid (3993) | about 14 years ago | (#715594)

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.

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715595)

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 ...

Oh Jesus Christ, here we go again (1)

heymanslowdown (219091) | about 14 years ago | (#715596)

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?

Re:Pseudo Story Voting (2)

jovlinger (55075) | about 14 years ago | (#715597)

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.

Done a decade ago - "Masspar" (2)

peter303 (12292) | about 14 years ago | (#715598)

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.

Re:New moderation proposal (2)

hey! (33014) | about 14 years ago | (#715599)

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.

Re:*Proprietary* ? (1)

Norge (26047) | about 14 years ago | (#715600)

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.


Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715601)

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.

Re:Massively Parallel Bit Serial CPUs (2)

jovlinger (55075) | about 14 years ago | (#715602)

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)?

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

TheAncientHacker (222131) | about 14 years ago | (#715603)

You apparently don't know about Palestinian kids ...

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

Re:Why is the clock rate so slow ? (1)

Norge (26047) | about 14 years ago | (#715604)

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.


Re:New moderation proposal (2)

Fervent (178271) | about 14 years ago | (#715605)

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. :)

no-beowulf-references-necessary my ass (2)

oingoboingo (179159) | about 14 years ago | (#715606)

the hell there won't be beowulf references!!

Wow! Could you imagine a beowulf cluster of these?!?

Re:Oh Jesus Christ, here we go again (1)

Mr. Piccolo (18045) | about 14 years ago | (#715607)

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.

Ahem. (3)

wmoyes (215662) | about 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715609)

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 ...

Hmmm... (1)

James Foster (226728) | about 14 years ago | (#715610)

Overclock it. ;]

Re:You say 'Get out of Their Country'? (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715611)

Read up on Moses ... *g*

Moore's Law (1)

HerbieTMac (17830) | about 14 years ago | (#715612)

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.

simple question... (1)

smack_attack (171144) | about 14 years ago | (#715613)

What's the name of their seti@home team? This thing could crunch data in a matter of seconds...

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715614)

We discovered america, enough? *g*

New moderation proposal (3)

wmoyes (215662) | about 14 years ago | (#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)

Who cares? (1)

flatpack (212454) | about 14 years ago | (#715616)

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.

Re:New moderation proposal (1)

swb (14022) | about 14 years ago | (#715618)

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.

Re:Who cares? (1)

g1t>>v (121036) | about 14 years ago | (#715619)

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 ...

Re:Hmmm... (1)

luckykaa (134517) | about 14 years ago | (#715620)

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.

Here we go again ... (2)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715621)

Didn't we cover that here [] ?

Following the slashdot example... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 14 years ago | (#715622)

I'm posting this twice.

Following the slashdot example... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 14 years ago | (#715624)

I'm posting this twice.

Proposal (2)

Jimmy1024 (207018) | about 14 years ago | (#715626)

I think we should have a new moderation option - and that it should apply to stories:


Data rate (1)

gattaca (27954) | about 14 years ago | (#715627)

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...

Nothing new (2)

arivanov (12034) | about 14 years ago | (#715628)

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.

Why is the clock rate so slow ? (2)

cypher3241 (241728) | about 14 years ago | (#715630)

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:

E2K (1)

relinquish (140619) | about 14 years ago | (#715631)

What happened to russian merced-killer E2K?

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Lonesmurf (88531) | about 14 years ago | (#715632)

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.


Re:IBM's Blue Gene project (1)

gattaca (27954) | about 14 years ago | (#715633)

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.

Re:New moderation proposal (1)

billybob2001 (234675) | about 14 years ago | (#715635)

Maybe it's a Beowulf cluster of Timothies causing the duplication: massively parallel articles?

Pseudo Story Voting (3)

Jacques Chester (151652) | about 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715637)

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.

Re:IBM's Blue Gene project (1)

gattaca (27954) | about 14 years ago | (#715638)

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.

Re:New moderation proposal (1)

cookieman (68302) | about 14 years ago | (#715639)

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.

interesting, but... (1)

Norge (26047) | about 14 years ago | (#715640)

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.


Massively Parallel Bit Serial CPUs (3)

Baldrson (78598) | about 14 years ago | (#715641)

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.

Re:Who cares? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 14 years ago | (#715642)

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.


Re:New moderation proposal (1)

swb (14022) | about 14 years ago | (#715643)

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.

Imagine... (1)

Snowfox (34467) | about 14 years ago | (#715644)

Ha ha, imagine a Beowulf Cluster of...

...aww, fuck it.

why? (2)

Lord Omlette (124579) | about 14 years ago | (#715645)

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

Yes. Yes, we did. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 14 years ago | (#715646)

But not with the benefit of a linked article in English.

Chief Frog Inspector

Re:Sounds better than it is. (2)

jovlinger (55075) | about 14 years ago | (#715647)

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?

Re:You say 'Get out of Their Country'? (1)

On Lawn (1073) | about 14 years ago | (#715648)

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.

ok... (1)

jmccay (70985) | about 14 years ago | (#715649)

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.

Re:simple question... (1)

James Foster (226728) | about 14 years ago | (#715651)

Too bad for them seti@home won't work on it.

Re:Who cares? (2)

Schoos (4736) | about 14 years ago | (#715653)

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.


article submission (5)

Frac (27516) | about 14 years ago | (#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 [] .

Can you imagine.... (1)

Chas (5144) | about 14 years ago | (#715656)

All the sub-morons who are going to use the a certain massively parallel form of supercomputer to make a lame joke of this?

I dunno why they're using .21 micron and not a more current .18 or .15 micron fab process. It might drive fabrication cost up some, but the price should stay level due to the fact that they'll get more chips off a wafer. That and the chip would have more headroom before requiring yet another die-shrink.

Chas - The one, the only.

Yes .. it's repeated, but .. (1)

SirFlakey (237855) | about 14 years ago | (#715657)

..It probably deserves a little more attention.
This thing has onboard embedded linux as well as shipping with linux & NT drivers.

I haven't seen a price point for it yet but it may solve a few problems for people (and yes .. someone might be able to write an ueber-decent seti@home client for it - rather then using ex-russion missile control chips =) , ey ?)

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

fprintf (82740) | about 14 years ago | (#715658)

It would seem that you are as much a victim of the (Israeli) media as we are here in the U.S. There have been conflicting reports from both sides as to who "started" each days violence, one side saying that Arabs started throwing rocks at "Innocent" Jews, and the other side saying that the Jews were attacking Arab enclaves with guns only to be repelled by rock attacks.

Either way, I'd the whole mideast thing just go away - damn those "forward thinkers" for setting up a Jewish state to begin with - they should have left the region alone. I'd rather just watch murders in my own backyard than some towelheads squaring off - slingshot vs. gun w/ rubber bullets.

Re:IBM's Blue Gene project (1)

uweber (61619) | about 14 years ago | (#715659)

Well I love IBM and all, but they are "just" puting a grat number of power4 on a muli chip module and then put a grat number of those on a board and then put many of these boards on a backplane ...
Got the point? It is just a really large cluster, nice engeneering but nothing revolutionary.

This chip however is a more like a FPGA (field programmable gate array)then a normal CPU, you just dont reprogramm a few gates but a whole 32-bit ALU.

Re:New moderation proposal (2)

TheTomcat (53158) | about 14 years ago | (#715663)

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.

How about this (2)

twitter (104583) | about 14 years ago | (#715664)

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.

No correlation between scores and quality (1)

Tiroth (95112) | about 14 years ago | (#715665)

This wouldn't necessarily work; consider repeat articles in the past, which have gotten lots of posts and karma. Also consdider that it is the editors that people hate (e.g. John Katz) that consistently get the most posts, and hence karma.

All the cumulative karma would tell you is the number of people interested in the wouldn't give any indication of whether that interest was positive or negative.

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715666)

Legal claim to the land? Besides the fact that they _lived there_ a thousand years ago - when the Jews were based in Baghdad, the Christians conquered Jerusalem by force, and the Moslems tried to throw the Christians back out?

It's well documented the the Palestine people lived in Palestine .. why would UN have to _give that land_ away to the Jews otherwise?

Now ... what legal claims (besides the promise of the promised land in the Bible) do the Jews have to Palestine? You know, there are more books than the Bible ... how about I write one that says God promised the northern american continent to the Swedes?

Re:Here we go again ... (1)

Troed (102527) | about 14 years ago | (#715667)

That story was reported (with interviews) in the Swedish media yesterday. They're not as biased as american or israeli media you know ...

Re:New moderation proposal (1)

Ian-K (154151) | about 14 years ago | (#715668)


may I add something to this?

Not only do what you say, but also remove the "Post Anonymously" Button at the posting form. Now, you'd see a hell of a lot less trolls and flamewars if everybody was forced to post eponymously.

Some will argue that there will be occasions where somebody has something important to say but has to be anonymous to avoid repercussions, but I think that the feature is heavily misused by trolls and should be removed, if not limited to something like, say, 2 anonymous posts per month for any user.

Another idea is whenever someone checks the Post Anonymously button, we count it. Chances are that the people who use this feature a lot are just flamers / trolls. People who'll use it once or twice a month are the ones who probably really need it.

Then /. can either take action, or just create a Hall of Fame for anonymous posters, where we have a list of users and the times they've posted anonymously in the last few weeks. You can be sure that users on the top of that list will be the biggest flamers / trolls around here...

Don't know, just an idea...


Curusoe (1)

microft_the_terible (228196) | about 14 years ago | (#715669)

Ahh, but do you remember what Transmeta did with thier curusoe chip? You could easyly put a shell arround the mulitple core CPU to make it appear (to the OS and any software) as 1 very fast chip... Just a thought... Microft

Re:C'mon moderators! (1)

King of the World (212739) | about 14 years ago | (#715670)

Oh I don't know, I always prefered "Linux for 'tards", "VBScript for ugly people" and "Bash and Tcsh for goat-riding midgets named Louise".

Each to his own, I guess.

Here is something useful (2)

twitter (104583) | about 14 years ago | (#715671)

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.

Sounds better than it is. (2)

Arlet (29997) | about 14 years ago | (#715674)

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.

Molecular-Scale Electronics (1)

VerdiGreen7 (210381) | about 14 years ago | (#715676)

Moore's Law states that every few years the number of transistors able to be fit on the same amount of space doubles. Moore's Law is one of the main reasons for technological trend up until now. Unfortunately, this trend will most likely cease by the year 2015 and advancements will be extremely slow and costly. Never fear, there is hope. Through a field called Molecular-Scale Electronics, scientists are attempting to develop chips the size of, well, molecules! Each individual transistor on the cheap is one molecule large but that's not all. The amount of heat outputted by normal chips is around 100 watts. The amount of heat from molecular transistors is about 50 picowatts, which is much much smaller (about 50 millions of a millionth of a watt).

Re:Who cares? (1)

NoNeeeed (157503) | about 14 years ago | (#715678)

I can see your point but people will learn to use this system if it lives up to the claims on performance. A few years ago the idea of using distributed computing was treated with suspision by some because it requires you to learn an alternative way of programming (I'm thinking Beawolf style systems here). What about vector processing,if you need the power then you learn how to do it. This system won't be that different , in its theory, to some of the technologies around at present.

However I can't see it being used on home systems for some time, perhaps until someone comes out with a compiler that can make full use of it while still keeping a familiar programming style for those more orthodox developers.

Re:Who cares? (3)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | about 14 years ago | (#715680)

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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