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Ultimate in over-the-top cell speculation. Intel manufactures Cell. Microsoft withers.

 
 
Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-25-2005, 03:28 PM
Greetings!

http://hardware.itmanagersjournal.co...5.shtml?tid=78

The article quotes at length one Jim Trounson, who is part of group
that is developing a PCI-X card for Cell, or so they say.

Best science fiction of 2005 already awarded?

<quote>


Cell Industries predicts that Intel will be building Cell with
cooperation from IBM within a year.

Cell, software, and Microsoft's demise

For the anticipated finale, and the end of Microsoft dominance as we
know it, Trounson forecast that IBM will not give Microsoft hardware
to work with, and will cash in on its support for open source and
Linux.

<snip>

Cell Industries forecasts that as Intel begins producing Cell chips,
Microsoft will try to port its operating system to the new processor.
However, Linux will have a significant head start and Microsoft will
in turn "fall apart."

"When hardware is commercially available, Windows will take two to
three years to get the first version going," Trounson said. "IBM
already has Linux running on the Cell [at that point]."

Adding that Cell chips will be in short supply for years, Trounson
acknowledged that the prediction represents the unprecedented.

"The world has never seen a step change in technology like what is
about to occur," Trounson said.

</quote>

....and then I woke up.

RM
 
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Yousuf Khan
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-25-2005, 03:47 PM
Robert Myers wrote:
> Greetings!
>
> http://hardware.itmanagersjournal.co...5.shtml?tid=78
>
> The article quotes at length one Jim Trounson, who is part of group
> that is developing a PCI-X card for Cell, or so they say.


Crackpots can come from all industries. :-)

> Cell Industries predicts that Intel will be building Cell with
> cooperation from IBM within a year.


He would've been more believable if he said AMD is going to start
building Cell, since afterall AMD and IBM have been synchronizing their
process technologies recently. So has Chartered.

> Cell Industries forecasts that as Intel begins producing Cell chips,
> Microsoft will try to port its operating system to the new processor.
> However, Linux will have a significant head start and Microsoft will
> in turn "fall apart."


Sort of like how Microsoft fell apart after falling two years behind
Linux in the x86-64 arena, I guess?

> Adding that Cell chips will be in short supply for years, Trounson
> acknowledged that the prediction represents the unprecedented.


I see he's already got his fallback in case his predictions inevitably
don't come true: Cell chips will be in short supply that's why it didn't
take off.

> "The world has never seen a step change in technology like what is
> about to occur," Trounson said.


Not since, ... oh Itanium, and then later Transmeta.

Yousuf Khan
 
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George Macdonald
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-26-2005, 12:00 AM
On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 10:28:46 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>Greetings!
>
>http://hardware.itmanagersjournal.co...5.shtml?tid=78
>
>The article quotes at length one Jim Trounson, who is part of group
>that is developing a PCI-X card for Cell, or so they say.


Uhh, does he mean a PCI-E card? Why the hell would anybody be interested
in a PCI-X card for a future system? It would be err, good to get that bit
right before proceeding further.

>Best science fiction of 2005 already awarded?
>
><quote>
>
>
>Cell Industries predicts that Intel will be building Cell with
>cooperation from IBM within a year.


.... and pigs will fly! I gotta see this one.

>Cell, software, and Microsoft's demise
>
>For the anticipated finale, and the end of Microsoft dominance as we
>know it, Trounson forecast that IBM will not give Microsoft hardware
>to work with, and will cash in on its support for open source and
>Linux.


B-b-b-but his *own* model is founded on open hardware specs. How could
anybody stop M$ from getting their hands on it?

>Cell Industries forecasts that as Intel begins producing Cell chips,
>Microsoft will try to port its operating system to the new processor.
>However, Linux will have a significant head start and Microsoft will
>in turn "fall apart."
>
>"When hardware is commercially available, Windows will take two to
>three years to get the first version going," Trounson said. "IBM
>already has Linux running on the Cell [at that point]."
>
>Adding that Cell chips will be in short supply for years, Trounson
>acknowledged that the prediction represents the unprecedented.
>
>"The world has never seen a step change in technology like what is
>about to occur," Trounson said.
>
></quote>


One "little" flaw I see - there is talk of:

Quote:
IBM, on the other hand, will "recruit an army of developers" during
the first year of Cell production by supplying software development systems
-- as many as 100,000 -- to major application developers and large
companies, as Trounson told ITMJ.
Who is going to pay for the hardware and software for development? IBM has
not been good at giving anything away, even to developers and certainly not
speculatively. That was the main reason for the failure of OS/2. I've
also mentioned in the past that we, and others, coughed up $$ for Risc/6K
and Alpha... all for nothing... money down the drain - we won't do that
again. OTOH I have to confess I do not understand the open source business
"model".<shrug>

Off-hand, other things: 1) I don't see the XDR memory sub-system being
amenable to memory "strips" and even with 1Gbit chips, 512MB of memory per
CPU is kinda slim... without reworking the memory interface to get to 8GB
per CPU; 2) 32-bit FPU is not going to fly as a general purpose computer.

>...and then I woke up.


I hope this guy has a spare grungy garage for his efforts - seems like that
is part of the template for success he is aiming to emulate... C.F. Dell,
Apple, et.al.:-)

--
Rgds, George Macdonald
 
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Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-26-2005, 12:52 AM
On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:00:55 -0500, George Macdonald
<fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 10:28:46 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>
>>Greetings!
>>
>>http://hardware.itmanagersjournal.co...5.shtml?tid=78
>>
>>The article quotes at length one Jim Trounson, who is part of group
>>that is developing a PCI-X card for Cell, or so they say.

>
>Uhh, does he mean a PCI-E card? Why the hell would anybody be interested
>in a PCI-X card for a future system? It would be err, good to get that bit
>right before proceeding further.
>

Especially since such a card is almost certainly going to be
I/O-bound.

>>Best science fiction of 2005 already awarded?
>>
>><quote>
>>
>>
>>Cell Industries predicts that Intel will be building Cell with
>>cooperation from IBM within a year.

>
>... and pigs will fly! I gotta see this one.
>
>>Cell, software, and Microsoft's demise
>>
>>For the anticipated finale, and the end of Microsoft dominance as we
>>know it, Trounson forecast that IBM will not give Microsoft hardware
>>to work with, and will cash in on its support for open source and
>>Linux.

>
>B-b-b-but his *own* model is founded on open hardware specs. How could
>anybody stop M$ from getting their hands on it?
>

I guess he's assuming that M$ can't go buy a PS3 for some reason.

>>Cell Industries forecasts that as Intel begins producing Cell chips,
>>Microsoft will try to port its operating system to the new processor.
>>However, Linux will have a significant head start and Microsoft will
>>in turn "fall apart."
>>
>>"When hardware is commercially available, Windows will take two to
>>three years to get the first version going," Trounson said. "IBM
>>already has Linux running on the Cell [at that point]."
>>
>>Adding that Cell chips will be in short supply for years, Trounson
>>acknowledged that the prediction represents the unprecedented.
>>
>>"The world has never seen a step change in technology like what is
>>about to occur," Trounson said.
>>
>></quote>

>
>One "little" flaw I see - there is talk of:
>
>
Quote:
IBM, on the other hand, will "recruit an army of developers" during
>the first year of Cell production by supplying software development systems
>-- as many as 100,000 -- to major application developers and large
>companies, as Trounson told ITMJ.
>
>Who is going to pay for the hardware and software for development? IBM has
>not been good at giving anything away, even to developers and certainly not
>speculatively. That was the main reason for the failure of OS/2. I've
>also mentioned in the past that we, and others, coughed up $$ for Risc/6K
>and Alpha... all for nothing... money down the drain - we won't do that
>again. OTOH I have to confess I do not understand the open source business
>"model".<shrug>
>

Umm, I guess you don't. :-).

That's why SCO is taking aim at IBM. Without IBM pumping its own
serious money into Linux, Linux would be nowhere near where it is now,
and IBM _is_ giving stuff away. In return, it has a nice growing
Linux server business (and a pesky lawsuit, to be sure).

I don't see anything wrong with the idea of IBM funding relevant
development, but I think it very unlikely that IBM will go after
anything that would wind up in a PC...unless, of course, IBM had
something _really_ devious in mind in selling off its PC business.

>Off-hand, other things: 1) I don't see the XDR memory sub-system being
>amenable to memory "strips" and even with 1Gbit chips, 512MB of memory per
>CPU is kinda slim... without reworking the memory interface to get to 8GB
>per CPU;


Have you looked at the I/O bandwidth?

http://research.scea.com/research/ht...lGDC05/07.html

Four cell processors=2GB. Probably no more NUMA than Opteron.

>2) 32-bit FPU is not going to fly as a general purpose computer.
>

SPE's can do IEEE-compliant double precision. Just ten times more
slowly.

>>...and then I woke up.

>
>I hope this guy has a spare grungy garage for his efforts - seems like that
>is part of the template for success he is aiming to emulate... C.F. Dell,
>Apple, et.al.:-)


I don't think Trounson is _necessarily_ wrong about how important Cell
might be, but that clunker about PCI-X is hard to get past, never mind
the wild speculation about Intel. Maybe he just had too much coffee
and too little sleep and never figured anyone would be so desperate as
to write a web article off his email.

RM
 
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George Macdonald
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-26-2005, 10:15 AM
On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:52:59 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:00:55 -0500, George Macdonald
><fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


>>B-b-b-but his *own* model is founded on open hardware specs. How could
>>anybody stop M$ from getting their hands on it?
>>

>I guess he's assuming that M$ can't go buy a PS3 for some reason.


You mean like they obviously couldn't go and buy Apple systems to practice
on for XBox 2?:-)

>>One "little" flaw I see - there is talk of:
>>
>>
Quote:
IBM, on the other hand, will "recruit an army of developers" during
>>the first year of Cell production by supplying software development systems
>>-- as many as 100,000 -- to major application developers and large
>>companies, as Trounson told ITMJ.
>>
>>Who is going to pay for the hardware and software for development? IBM has
>>not been good at giving anything away, even to developers and certainly not
>>speculatively. That was the main reason for the failure of OS/2. I've
>>also mentioned in the past that we, and others, coughed up $$ for Risc/6K
>>and Alpha... all for nothing... money down the drain - we won't do that
>>again. OTOH I have to confess I do not understand the open source business
>>"model".<shrug>
>>

>Umm, I guess you don't. :-).


No, I just I don't see how programmers are supposed to pay the rent, unless
maybe they've been anointed by one of the self-appointed OS-gurus.

>That's why SCO is taking aim at IBM. Without IBM pumping its own
>serious money into Linux, Linux would be nowhere near where it is now,
>and IBM _is_ giving stuff away. In return, it has a nice growing
>Linux server business (and a pesky lawsuit, to be sure).
>
>I don't see anything wrong with the idea of IBM funding relevant
>development, but I think it very unlikely that IBM will go after
>anything that would wind up in a PC...unless, of course, IBM had
>something _really_ devious in mind in selling off its PC business.


Giving stuff away and giving it to the right people are two different
scenarios. If you've ever been on the good end of an IBM give-way, you'll
know that it is not a comfortable position. As for the PC, it is not going
away any time soon, so there'd better be some vision of how Cell fits into
that slot... Apple's second chance??:-)

>>Off-hand, other things: 1) I don't see the XDR memory sub-system being
>>amenable to memory "strips" and even with 1Gbit chips, 512MB of memory per
>>CPU is kinda slim... without reworking the memory interface to get to 8GB
>>per CPU;

>
>Have you looked at the I/O bandwidth?
>
>http://research.scea.com/research/ht...lGDC05/07.html
>
>Four cell processors=2GB. Probably no more NUMA than Opteron.


Well it would seem that the inter-CPU communications/coherency is less well
defined for the moment and there's a *big* difference between the current
256MB/CPU of Cell and Opteron's 16GB/CPU.

>>2) 32-bit FPU is not going to fly as a general purpose computer.
>>

>SPE's can do IEEE-compliant double precision. Just ten times more
>slowly.
>
>>>...and then I woke up.

>>
>>I hope this guy has a spare grungy garage for his efforts - seems like that
>>is part of the template for success he is aiming to emulate... C.F. Dell,
>>Apple, et.al.:-)

>
>I don't think Trounson is _necessarily_ wrong about how important Cell
>might be, but that clunker about PCI-X is hard to get past, never mind
>the wild speculation about Intel. Maybe he just had too much coffee
>and too little sleep and never figured anyone would be so desperate as
>to write a web article off his email.


It's hard to fathom what *might* be sitting in a lab right now or what NDAs
might be in place, but as it stands, it appears that there's a lot fo work
to do to bring it into use in a general purpose computer.

--
Rgds, George Macdonald
 
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Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-26-2005, 12:29 PM
On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 05:15:27 -0500, George Macdonald
<fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:52:59 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>
>>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:00:55 -0500, George Macdonald
>><fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>


<snip>

>
>>>One "little" flaw I see - there is talk of:
>>>
>>>
Quote:
IBM, on the other hand, will "recruit an army of developers" during
>>>the first year of Cell production by supplying software development systems
>>>-- as many as 100,000 -- to major application developers and large
>>>companies, as Trounson told ITMJ.
>>>
>>>Who is going to pay for the hardware and software for development? IBM has
>>>not been good at giving anything away, even to developers and certainly not
>>>speculatively. That was the main reason for the failure of OS/2. I've
>>>also mentioned in the past that we, and others, coughed up $$ for Risc/6K
>>>and Alpha... all for nothing... money down the drain - we won't do that
>>>again. OTOH I have to confess I do not understand the open source business
>>>"model".<shrug>
>>>

>>Umm, I guess you don't. :-).

>
>No, I just I don't see how programmers are supposed to pay the rent, unless
>maybe they've been anointed by one of the self-appointed OS-gurus.
>

This is a big subject, and I won't insult you by taking a weak flyer
at it. The google

economics "open source"

would be a good start.

>>That's why SCO is taking aim at IBM. Without IBM pumping its own
>>serious money into Linux, Linux would be nowhere near where it is now,
>>and IBM _is_ giving stuff away. In return, it has a nice growing
>>Linux server business (and a pesky lawsuit, to be sure).
>>
>>I don't see anything wrong with the idea of IBM funding relevant
>>development, but I think it very unlikely that IBM will go after
>>anything that would wind up in a PC...unless, of course, IBM had
>>something _really_ devious in mind in selling off its PC business.

>
>Giving stuff away and giving it to the right people are two different
>scenarios. If you've ever been on the good end of an IBM give-way, you'll
>know that it is not a comfortable position. As for the PC, it is not going
>away any time soon, so there'd better be some vision of how Cell fits into
>that slot... Apple's second chance??:-)
>

The more I look at Cell, the more I am convinced I don't understand
how it will be used. Or rather, I can imagine ways in which it can be
used, but I'm not sure those are those only ways. The more I look at
the architecture, the more I like it, and I see lots of possibilities.

It's easiest to imagine the SPE's processing a bunch of content or
doing number crunching as a stream processor, but I can also imagine
using all those SPE's to overcome the natural limitations of the
in-order PPC: Spin off a task speculatively (or on less than perfect
information), execute in local memory, and commit only when whatever
predicate conditions are satisfied (or throw the result away).

The SPE's can also be isolated (I think) from the world of everyday
interrupts, and I think that might offer some serious advantages for
the processor.

But the question, of course, is not, are there interesting things one
might try, but will any of those things actually be made to work and
what do you get as a payoff. It seems reasonably certain you could
make Cell function as a PC processor if you wanted to. The question
is: why would you want to?

David Wang is worried about the software model. That doesn't worry me
so much. The fact that Sony is in such turmoil and has never been
able to make the "profit is in the content" model really pay off for
them (and, as far as I can tell, only Apple, in a field of many
entrants, has succeeded at that game). A weakened and distracted Sony
with a sagging stock price and turmoil at the top is going to turn
aside one of the biggest tidal waves in the history of technology
(x86)?

>>>Off-hand, other things: 1) I don't see the XDR memory sub-system being
>>>amenable to memory "strips" and even with 1Gbit chips, 512MB of memory per
>>>CPU is kinda slim... without reworking the memory interface to get to 8GB
>>>per CPU;

>>
>>Have you looked at the I/O bandwidth?
>>
>>http://research.scea.com/research/ht...lGDC05/07.html
>>
>>Four cell processors=2GB. Probably no more NUMA than Opteron.

>
>Well it would seem that the inter-CPU communications/coherency is less well
>defined for the moment and there's a *big* difference between the current
>256MB/CPU of Cell and Opteron's 16GB/CPU.
>

Maybe an issue if you want to use it for in-memory databases or a
server, but not so much so for computationally-intensive work.

>>>2) 32-bit FPU is not going to fly as a general purpose computer.
>>>

>>SPE's can do IEEE-compliant double precision. Just ten times more
>>slowly.
>>
>>>>...and then I woke up.
>>>
>>>I hope this guy has a spare grungy garage for his efforts - seems like that
>>>is part of the template for success he is aiming to emulate... C.F. Dell,
>>>Apple, et.al.:-)

>>

And I think he's got the wrong product. If IBM isn't working on a
Blue Gene style card already, I'll be amazed.

>>I don't think Trounson is _necessarily_ wrong about how important Cell
>>might be, but that clunker about PCI-X is hard to get past, never mind
>>the wild speculation about Intel. Maybe he just had too much coffee
>>and too little sleep and never figured anyone would be so desperate as
>>to write a web article off his email.

>
>It's hard to fathom what *might* be sitting in a lab right now or what NDAs
>might be in place, but as it stands, it appears that there's a lot fo work
>to do to bring it into use in a general purpose computer.


The "front-end" is a PowerPC. Multi-threaded and in-order, but a
PowerPC, nevertheless. The compiler exists. I'll bet there is even
significant experience getting it to work with DSP coprocessors.

There is always the cautionary tale of itanium (which could wind up
looking more than a little bit like Cell). Intel was much better
positioned than Sony, it had much greater resources, and how far has
it gotten?

RM
 
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Felger Carbon
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-26-2005, 01:58 PM
"Robert Myers" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> Spin off a task speculatively (or on less than perfect
> information), execute in local memory, and commit only when whatever
> predicate conditions are satisfied (or throw the result away).


Wow! Hand-tuned assembly language whose carefully crafted results get
thrown out. That looks like a very efficient way to develop modern
software! ;-)


 
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Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-26-2005, 03:19 PM
On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 13:58:14 GMT, "Felger Carbon" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>"Robert Myers" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>news:(E-Mail Removed).. .
>>
>> Spin off a task speculatively (or on less than perfect
>> information), execute in local memory, and commit only when whatever
>> predicate conditions are satisfied (or throw the result away).

>
>Wow! Hand-tuned assembly language whose carefully crafted results get
>thrown out. That looks like a very efficient way to develop modern
>software! ;-)
>

I wasn't expecting it to be produced as hand-tuned assembly. You
forget my involvement with Itanium. Everything will be possible with
a compiler...one day.

Itanium compilers are already a fair bit of the way down this road.
You identify a task you can't be sure is safe because of data
amiguity. You set a predicate condition, execute the task, and check
the predicate.

With multiple execution units sitting on a bus connected to the CPU,
you don't have to wring your hands so much over the costs of spinning
off an execution path without full information. It should be no
harder than itanium predicated execution and maybe much easier.

RM

 
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George Macdonald
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-27-2005, 01:04 AM
On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 07:29:33 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 05:15:27 -0500, George Macdonald
><fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:52:59 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
>>wrote:
>>
>>>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:00:55 -0500, George Macdonald
>>><fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>>

>
><snip>
>
>>
>>>>One "little" flaw I see - there is talk of:
>>>>
>>>>
Quote:
IBM, on the other hand, will "recruit an army of developers" during
>>>>the first year of Cell production by supplying software development systems
>>>>-- as many as 100,000 -- to major application developers and large
>>>>companies, as Trounson told ITMJ.
>>>>
>>>>Who is going to pay for the hardware and software for development? IBM has
>>>>not been good at giving anything away, even to developers and certainly not
>>>>speculatively. That was the main reason for the failure of OS/2. I've
>>>>also mentioned in the past that we, and others, coughed up $$ for Risc/6K
>>>>and Alpha... all for nothing... money down the drain - we won't do that
>>>>again. OTOH I have to confess I do not understand the open source business
>>>>"model".<shrug>
>>>>
>>>Umm, I guess you don't. :-).

>>
>>No, I just I don't see how programmers are supposed to pay the rent, unless
>>maybe they've been anointed by one of the self-appointed OS-gurus.
>>

>This is a big subject, and I won't insult you by taking a weak flyer
>at it. The google
>
>economics "open source"
>
>would be a good start.


Oh I've already read a bit on it and it just doesn't make sense to me. One
case in point: an often mentioned OS factoid has "geeks" playing in their
"spare time" to create software; if, as usually presented, they are also
professional programmers "during the day", they are very likely breaking
their employment agreement. Add in the fact that many (most) professional
programmers work *some* overtime for their employers and often at odd
hours, under pressure, the whole concept of OS is a fantasy to me.

>>>That's why SCO is taking aim at IBM. Without IBM pumping its own
>>>serious money into Linux, Linux would be nowhere near where it is now,
>>>and IBM _is_ giving stuff away. In return, it has a nice growing
>>>Linux server business (and a pesky lawsuit, to be sure).
>>>
>>>I don't see anything wrong with the idea of IBM funding relevant
>>>development, but I think it very unlikely that IBM will go after
>>>anything that would wind up in a PC...unless, of course, IBM had
>>>something _really_ devious in mind in selling off its PC business.

>>
>>Giving stuff away and giving it to the right people are two different
>>scenarios. If you've ever been on the good end of an IBM give-way, you'll
>>know that it is not a comfortable position. As for the PC, it is not going
>>away any time soon, so there'd better be some vision of how Cell fits into
>>that slot... Apple's second chance??:-)
>>

>The more I look at Cell, the more I am convinced I don't understand
>how it will be used. Or rather, I can imagine ways in which it can be
>used, but I'm not sure those are those only ways. The more I look at
>the architecture, the more I like it, and I see lots of possibilities.
>
>It's easiest to imagine the SPE's processing a bunch of content or
>doing number crunching as a stream processor, but I can also imagine
>using all those SPE's to overcome the natural limitations of the
>in-order PPC: Spin off a task speculatively (or on less than perfect
>information), execute in local memory, and commit only when whatever
>predicate conditions are satisfied (or throw the result away).
>
>The SPE's can also be isolated (I think) from the world of everyday
>interrupts, and I think that might offer some serious advantages for
>the processor.
>
>But the question, of course, is not, are there interesting things one
>might try, but will any of those things actually be made to work and
>what do you get as a payoff. It seems reasonably certain you could
>make Cell function as a PC processor if you wanted to. The question
>is: why would you want to?


So my question is: what else (useful) will you do with it?... make ASPs out
of it? I don't think so - even IT can't make its politics work there. If
you can build game boxes and super computers with it, why not PCs? As
Apple's next (or next/next) CPU it may not be that far fetched - obviously
they already have the PPC part down.

>David Wang is worried about the software model. That doesn't worry me
>so much. The fact that Sony is in such turmoil and has never been
>able to make the "profit is in the content" model really pay off for
>them (and, as far as I can tell, only Apple, in a field of many
>entrants, has succeeded at that game). A weakened and distracted Sony
>with a sagging stock price and turmoil at the top is going to turn
>aside one of the biggest tidal waves in the history of technology
>(x86)?


I agree with David - the software environment is necessarily horribly
complex and AFAICT at this stage, needs programmers of a calibre which is
not commonly found... near genius even. Mr. Trounson's runtime compiler is
a *very* old idea, which has had no takers till now.

>>>>Off-hand, other things: 1) I don't see the XDR memory sub-system being
>>>>amenable to memory "strips" and even with 1Gbit chips, 512MB of memory per
>>>>CPU is kinda slim... without reworking the memory interface to get to 8GB
>>>>per CPU;
>>>
>>>Have you looked at the I/O bandwidth?
>>>
>>>http://research.scea.com/research/ht...lGDC05/07.html
>>>
>>>Four cell processors=2GB. Probably no more NUMA than Opteron.

>>
>>Well it would seem that the inter-CPU communications/coherency is less well
>>defined for the moment and there's a *big* difference between the current
>>256MB/CPU of Cell and Opteron's 16GB/CPU.
>>

>Maybe an issue if you want to use it for in-memory databases or a
>server, but not so much so for computationally-intensive work.


They're not even in the same ballpark. We already hear talk of (PC) game
developers raving about the >4GB address space of x86-64 and what they're
going to do with it; I guess Sony is not anticipating doing similar things
for PS3 players??

>>>I don't think Trounson is _necessarily_ wrong about how important Cell
>>>might be, but that clunker about PCI-X is hard to get past, never mind
>>>the wild speculation about Intel. Maybe he just had too much coffee
>>>and too little sleep and never figured anyone would be so desperate as
>>>to write a web article off his email.

>>
>>It's hard to fathom what *might* be sitting in a lab right now or what NDAs
>>might be in place, but as it stands, it appears that there's a lot fo work
>>to do to bring it into use in a general purpose computer.

>
>The "front-end" is a PowerPC. Multi-threaded and in-order, but a
>PowerPC, nevertheless. The compiler exists. I'll bet there is even
>significant experience getting it to work with DSP coprocessors.


It still looks like a steep slope to me... starting with the memory
interface. Dave has outlined how to do it, to get to 4GB with 512Mb chips,
but until it's actually done we don't really know.

>There is always the cautionary tale of itanium (which could wind up
>looking more than a little bit like Cell). Intel was much better
>positioned than Sony, it had much greater resources, and how far has
>it gotten?


So you're not tempted to have a little flutter on RMBS? The pump 'n'
dumpers seem to have gone cold on it with the Infineon deal - are they not
paying attention?:-)

--
Rgds, George Macdonald
 
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Robert Myers
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-27-2005, 12:36 PM
On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 20:04:26 -0500, George Macdonald
<fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 07:29:33 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>
>>On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 05:15:27 -0500, George Macdonald
>><fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:52:59 -0500, Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
>>>wrote:
>>>
>>>>On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 19:00:55 -0500, George Macdonald
>>>><fammacd=!SPAM^(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>>

>>
>><snip>
>>
>>>
>>>>>One "little" flaw I see - there is talk of:
>>>>>
>>>>>
Quote:
IBM, on the other hand, will "recruit an army of developers" during
>>>>>the first year of Cell production by supplying software development systems
>>>>>-- as many as 100,000 -- to major application developers and large
>>>>>companies, as Trounson told ITMJ.
>>>>>
>>>>>Who is going to pay for the hardware and software for development? IBM has
>>>>>not been good at giving anything away, even to developers and certainly not
>>>>>speculatively. That was the main reason for the failure of OS/2. I've
>>>>>also mentioned in the past that we, and others, coughed up $$ for Risc/6K
>>>>>and Alpha... all for nothing... money down the drain - we won't do that
>>>>>again. OTOH I have to confess I do not understand the open source business
>>>>>"model".<shrug>
>>>>>
>>>>Umm, I guess you don't. :-).
>>>
>>>No, I just I don't see how programmers are supposed to pay the rent, unless
>>>maybe they've been anointed by one of the self-appointed OS-gurus.
>>>

>>This is a big subject, and I won't insult you by taking a weak flyer
>>at it. The google
>>
>>economics "open source"
>>
>>would be a good start.

>
>Oh I've already read a bit on it and it just doesn't make sense to me. One
>case in point: an often mentioned OS factoid has "geeks" playing in their
>"spare time" to create software; if, as usually presented, they are also
>professional programmers "during the day", they are very likely breaking
>their employment agreement. Add in the fact that many (most) professional
>programmers work *some* overtime for their employers and often at odd
>hours, under pressure, the whole concept of OS is a fantasy to me.
>

You've obviously been reading the output of the Alexis de Tocqueville
Institute. I wonder how much code is really written that way. Open
Source has been awfully professionalized.

There are so many different business models: The money is in _______.

(a) Hardware.
(b) Software.
(c) Services.
(d) Content.

Give away whatever isn't the source of revenue to tap into whatever
is. Or, as in the case of open source sotware, use controversial dual
licensing to give away software to establish it as a standard so you
can sell it.

<snip>

>>>Giving stuff away and giving it to the right people are two different
>>>scenarios. If you've ever been on the good end of an IBM give-way, you'll
>>>know that it is not a comfortable position. As for the PC, it is not going
>>>away any time soon, so there'd better be some vision of how Cell fits into
>>>that slot... Apple's second chance??:-)
>>>


<snip>

>>
>>But the question, of course, is not, are there interesting things one
>>might try, but will any of those things actually be made to work and
>>what do you get as a payoff. It seems reasonably certain you could
>>make Cell function as a PC processor if you wanted to. The question
>>is: why would you want to?

>
>So my question is: what else (useful) will you do with it?... make ASPs out
>of it? I don't think so - even IT can't make its politics work there. If
>you can build game boxes and super computers with it, why not PCs? As
>Apple's next (or next/next) CPU it may not be that far fetched - obviously
>they already have the PPC part down.
>

Well, but _why_? That's what we have yet to see. Only if it turns
out that you can give the user a completely different experience, or
if Apple and IBM can't come to terms on continuing the current
relationship.

The other model is that a digital home entertainment center displaces
the PC. As far as the PC functions are concerned, it's probably more
of a thin client than a PC. Apple and Sony could do that in
partnership. I doubt either can do it alone.

>>David Wang is worried about the software model. That doesn't worry me
>>so much. The fact that Sony is in such turmoil and has never been
>>able to make the "profit is in the content" model really pay off for
>>them (and, as far as I can tell, only Apple, in a field of many
>>entrants, has succeeded at that game). A weakened and distracted Sony
>>with a sagging stock price and turmoil at the top is going to turn
>>aside one of the biggest tidal waves in the history of technology
>>(x86)?

>
>I agree with David - the software environment is necessarily horribly
>complex and AFAICT at this stage, needs programmers of a calibre which is
>not commonly found... near genius even. Mr. Trounson's runtime compiler is
>a *very* old idea, which has had no takers till now.
>

"The software is going to be the problem" would have been a pretty
safe bet through much of the history of computing.

Sony claims the SPE's can be programmed with c, but the Open Source
model implicitly assumes that gcc (or equivalent) is the universal
translator, and it's hard to imagine gcc ever being up to the task of
taking advantage of SPE's without explicit programmer intervention.

I'm not sure that the real problem with Cell isn't that it is coming
along at the wrong time. Too much is already in place, and too much
would have to be reinvented to get out of Cell even a fraction of the
potential that might be there. Suppose Cell were the central hardware
for a Project MAC? Given a blank piece of paper, people can be
awfully inventive.

>>>>>Off-hand, other things: 1) I don't see the XDR memory sub-system being
>>>>>amenable to memory "strips" and even with 1Gbit chips, 512MB of memory per
>>>>>CPU is kinda slim... without reworking the memory interface to get to 8GB
>>>>>per CPU;
>>>>
>>>>Have you looked at the I/O bandwidth?
>>>>
>>>>http://research.scea.com/research/ht...lGDC05/07.html
>>>>
>>>>Four cell processors=2GB. Probably no more NUMA than Opteron.
>>>
>>>Well it would seem that the inter-CPU communications/coherency is less well
>>>defined for the moment and there's a *big* difference between the current
>>>256MB/CPU of Cell and Opteron's 16GB/CPU.
>>>

>>Maybe an issue if you want to use it for in-memory databases or a
>>server, but not so much so for computationally-intensive work.

>
>They're not even in the same ballpark. We already hear talk of (PC) game
>developers raving about the >4GB address space of x86-64 and what they're
>going to do with it; I guess Sony is not anticipating doing similar things
>for PS3 players??
>

I can easily believe that games will eventually entail very large
amounts of state. If the memory interface has to be reworked, it has
to be reworked.

<snip>

>>There is always the cautionary tale of itanium (which could wind up
>>looking more than a little bit like Cell). Intel was much better
>>positioned than Sony, it had much greater resources, and how far has
>>it gotten?

>
>So you're not tempted to have a little flutter on RMBS? The pump 'n'
>dumpers seem to have gone cold on it with the Infineon deal - are they not
>paying attention?:-)


I suspect the markets have already discounted RMBS benefitting from
Playstation 3, which, after all, is just a followon to Playstation 2.

RM

 
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