RE: Human minds on Windows(?)

Eugene Leitl (
Fri, 9 Jul 1999 16:01:14 -0700 (PDT)

Billy Brown writes:
> Eugene Leitl wrote:
> > Large programs are not that bad -- but large monolithic programs
> > are. You'll have trouble porting code monoliths to fine-grain maspar
> > systems.
> True, but who writes monolithic code these days? Everything Microsoft
> produces is a bundle of DLLs and COM objects, and I rarely see individual
> files bigger than a few MB. Everyone else I'm familiar with has either
> adopted the same approach, or doesn't write anything big in the first place.

Perhaps I should illustrate what I mean by fine grain. Let's say I'll order ~4 k of chips like

hotglue them onto a stack of perforated plexiglas sheet and wirewrap them gluelessly into a 16x16x16 DSP array (adding little LED blinkenlights to each link port for cuteness value), putting the edge node as a PCI card into a garden-variety Linux box. So this gives me 2 GBytes of on-die memory a la 4 MBit each, in toto a ~10 kW heat dissipation (heck put it into an aquarium filled with Fluorinert and mount an aircooled heat exchanger on top of that), 2.4 TFlops peak box in a half-height 19" rack (for how much? 100..500 k$? ballpark of a high-end workstation) -- enough horsepower to upload a nematode, or even a fruit fly. It's comparatively easy (well, possible) to write a nanokernel OS taking 4..16 kByte memory footprint or so, so this leaves me with essentially half a MByte/node to work with -- however, how do you expect to port Excel to such an architecture? How much of Microsoft (or OpenSource stuff, for that matter) warez are written as asynchronous message-passing object soup?

The only reason machines as such are not widespread is that ./configure ; make ; make install is not sufficient to port your apps to them. Would make great game machines, though. Modelling, volume viz/rendering, lots of potential.