Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 18th Aug 2005 16:46 UTC, submitted by Nicholas Blachford
Intel "At next week's Intel developer forum, the firm is due to announce a next generation x86 processor core. The current speculation is this new core is going too be based on one of the existing Pentium M cores. I think it's going to be something completely different."
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RE: not a snowball's
by on Thu 18th Aug 2005 20:57 UTC in reply to "not a snowball's"

Member since:

Exactly which apps do most people run that so need to run urgently on single threaded cpus. Yeh right, those damn irelevant benchmarks.

Almost every application I use (as an engineer) IDEs, Winamp, Video players, FireFox, Open Office, FPGA tools either is multithreaded or could or should be. Now in University level CS they still teach algorithm theory as if the world really was single threaded with few exceptions. And the real problem is the model of concurrency in most programming languages is completely hosed if it even mentions locks. For some of us out there concurency isn't the big bad wolf its been made out to be, but we don't work at the level of locks either. Some languages are actually quite good at expressing concurrency and can exploit large nos of cpus or logic elements (example, occam, Verilog, VHDL).

It must of been Amdahl that cursed parallel computing by suggesting that after 7 cpus, performance starts to go down, even the 7th cpu doesn't really add much. It all depends on where you are coming from (him big old IBM mainframes 1960s IT SW).

Most users of x86 don't run anything that needs to be excusively singlethreaded. There are ways of looking at what goes on in a typical Windows box and seeing lots of small cpus working together, even replacing the SSE,MMX with more simple cpus MIMD rather than SISD+SIMD. During quiet periods which is actually 99% of the time most of those cpus can shut down and save power with no effort, compute on demand.

There really is no need for any full blown application to be single threaded period except toy programs but there are some reasons why human parallelizing of some tasks remains difficult.

One often hears about big O notation, of programs that take O.N.. time that take even more time when parallelized onto n cpus. The anti parallel guys forget though that these n cpus are often an order or more cheaper than single threaded monsters and that the less efficient improvement gained using n cpus is offset by the much lower cost of each cpu. If taken to a logical extreme, these cpus can reduce to nothing more than FPGA LUT tables in their 100Ks and the software is fully parallelized hardware.

transputer guy

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: not a snowball's
by nimble on Fri 19th Aug 2005 06:27 in reply to "RE: not a snowball's"
nimble Member since:
2005-07-06

Exactly which apps do most people run that so need to run urgently on single threaded cpus. Yeh right, those damn irelevant benchmarks.

Almost every application I use (as an engineer) IDEs, Winamp, Video players, FireFox, Open Office, FPGA tools either is multithreaded or could or should be.


You might well be right there, but the fact of the matter is that benchmarks do matter (if "only" for marketing), that most applications are single-threaded, and that programmers don't like to use multi-threading unless absolutely necessary (e.g. for GUI responsiveness).

Therefore Intel would be committing commercial suicide if they went with the transputer concept while AMD is perfectly happy to provide the market with what it's used to.

And as Rayiner already pointed out, the hardware needed for extracting instruction-level parallelism through out-of-order execution is actually fairly small compared to the real bugbear: the large caches that make up for excruciatingly slow main memory.

Reply Parent Score: 1