The Design of the Node for the Single Chip Message Passing (SCMP) Parallel Computer
Bucciero, Mark Benjamin
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Current processor designs use additional transistors to add functionality that improves performance. These features tend to exploit instruction level parallelism. However, a point of diminishing returns has been reached in this effort. Instead, these additional transistors could be used to take advantage of thread level parallelism (TLP). This type of parallelism focuses on hundreds of instructions, rather than single instructions, executing in parallel. Additionally, as transistor sizes shrink, the wires on a chip become thinner. Fabricating a thinner wire means increasing the resistance and thus, the latency of that wire. In fact, in the near future, a signal may not reach a portion of the chip in a single clock cycle. So, in future designs, it will be important to limit the length of the wires on a chip. The SCMP parallel computer is a new architecture that is made up of small processing elements, called nodes, which are connected in a 2-D mesh with nearest neighbor connections. Nodes communicate with one another, via message passing, through a network, which uses dimension order worm-hole routing. To support TLP, each node is capable of supporting multiple threads, which execute in a non-preemptive round robin manner. The wire lengths of this system are limited since a node is only connected to its nearest neighbors. This paper focuses on the System C hardware design of the node that gets replicated across the chip. The result is a node implementation that can be used to create a hardware model of the SCMP parallel computer.
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