Re: tech snippets

James Rogers (
Wed, 01 Jan 1997 02:53:58 -0800

At 10:51 PM 12/31/96 -0800, you wrote:
>James Rogers wrote:
>> This could be the basis for a flexible, fast computing architecture.
>> Pipeline simple 128-bit (or even 256-bit) ALUs. The ALUs, by nature, would
>> be really small, simple, and very fast. You could build a simple floating
>> point processor with many parallel pipelines using less than >1 million
>> transistors (trivial these days). The fp throughput would be enormous, and
>> I suspect that you could build a veritable supercomputer on a chip or MCM
>> this way. And depending on how it was designed, you could have arbitrary
>> hardware supported precision, up to the point of the total number of
>> pipelines on the chip or MCM.
>Beginning to sound like a Thinking Machines CM-2...

Didn't the CM-2 use a lot of very small ALUs (1-bit? 4-bit?) and then use
them in groups? Similar, but the overhead of making that many small units
work together was probably its weakness. That was built back when
transistor count on a chip was far more limited than it is now, otherwise
they might have attempted a VLIW/bloated-register configuration.

-James Rogers