Linked by jockm on Tue 19th Aug 2014 21:31 UTC
General Unix

Modern microcontrollers are becoming quite beefy. The Microchip PIC32 line is actually an implementation of the MIPS32 4K architecture - and with 512K of flash and 128K of RAM you can even run Unix! RetroBSD is a port of BSD 2.11 for the PIC32. You might not be able to run X11, but it is still very useful and a great reminder of how small Unix used to be - and how far it has come.

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RE[4]: Great and ....
by WereCatf on Wed 20th Aug 2014 16:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Great and ...."
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

Ray tracing? What would the output be presented on?


Well, the output could just be relayed to a device with an actual display with the microcontrollers just handling the actual calculations. I do not see what the problem is.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Great and ....
by Dano on Wed 20th Aug 2014 16:46 in reply to "RE[4]: Great and ...."
Dano Member since:
2006-01-22

The fact that you don't see the problem is the problem. You have to have a kernel running on every part in the cluster, have drivers and hardware to tie them all together, have enough onboard memory to run user code, have an interface to launch user code along with a hundred other issues including clocking and bus arbitration issues that would slow a cluster to a halt even if you had enough ram and glue to get it all working. Has anyone here actually programmed a microcontroller before? Even after all of this you would need custom app code and perhaps a custom compiler to write the app code to make a program that actually runs on the platform.

Edited 2014-08-20 16:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Great and ....
by WereCatf on Wed 20th Aug 2014 17:00 in reply to "RE[5]: Great and ...."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

And? All that goes with the challenge of it. As others have tried to tell you, it's not about it being efficient or a useful system or anything, but you just don't get it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Great and ....
by TemporalBeing on Wed 20th Aug 2014 17:01 in reply to "RE[5]: Great and ...."
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

The fact that you don't see the problem is the problem. You have to have a kernel running on every part in the cluster, have drivers and hardware to tie them all together, have enough onboard memory to run user code, have an interface to launch user code along with a hundred other issues including clocking and bus arbitration issues that would slow a cluster to a halt even if you had enough ram and glue to get it all working. Has anyone here actually programmed a microcontroller before? Even after all of this you would need custom app code and perhaps a custom compiler to write the app code to make a program that actually runs on the platform.


Yes, I have done microcontroller programming - solving a real-world, real-time problem.

And no, this wouldn't be that bad if the cluster master (a normal system) and the cluster were designed right - in fact, it'd just be a really really large version of the Cell Processor used by Sony for the PS3.

Yes, the Cell was a PITA to program for, but it did work. Now scale that out to 4k nodes with about the same amount of RAM. A PITA but doable.

Reply Parent Score: 2