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Multi-Core Processing Bristol-Fashion

Peter Claydon, who invented PicoChip’s multi-core processing technology, did it Bristol-fashion.

“Our architecture was very accidental,” recalls Claydon, “when I joined Brooktree, I was the 12th employee and the first who hadn’t come from Inmos, and people solved problems in this Inmosy type of way. They thought parallel processing was the way to do it.”

“I know about simple processors, and I know there’s no chance of my designing a complicated processor, so clearly the only way to get performance was to design a lot of simple processors,” he adds.

“I know about simple processors, and I know there’s no chance of my designing a complicated processor, so clearly the only way to get performance was to design a lot of simple processors,” he adds.

He looked into the physics of what would be the optimal number of transistors per processor for performance efficiency and decided that one million was optimal.

“The emphasis was on doing something elegant, a clean, clever architecture which was really easy to programme”, he says, “we’ve solved that problem of how to programme it. We have a single programming environment.”

“David May (architect of the Inmos Transputer) has a pipeline between processors which takes stuff in and chucks stuff out”, says Claydon, “if one processor is expecting data from another, and doesn’t get it, it stops and waits, and if one processor hasn’t got the data, it stops and waits, but with picoChip’s synchro-mesh kind of system, it can still do processing. David May is interested in being academically sound, whereas the PicoArray was a pragmatic approach to parallel processing.”

Article source: http://www.electronicsweekly.com/blogs/mannerisms/yarns/multi-core-processing-bristol-fashion-2017-03/