[Beowulf] Vector coprocessors

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Thu Mar 16 12:54:39 EST 2006



Daniel Pfenniger wrote:

>> You need "really big" volumes to get there. 
> 
> 
> Yes, but it does not seem to me unreasonable to put such a card in
> millions of PC's if the average applications run a bit faster and the
> cost increase stays below the PC cost.  After all
> the 8087 math coprocessor of the i386 era did just that.

I agree that it makes sense to put such a card into millions of PCs. 
Not at $8000/card.  The issue is that the C600 costs quite a bit itself 
as it is not being produced in volumes that can drive enough economies 
of scale (yet).  So the basic part will be a few k$.  The card cost will 
be (relatively speaking) low.

I think (WAG here) that Clearspeed wants people to design a socket onto 
motherboards for them.  Lowers the costs all around.

>> I would say that there is more potential for a clever soul to 
>> reprogram the guts of Matlab, etc., to transparently share the work 
>> across multiple machines.  I think that's in the back of the mind of 
>> MS, as they move toward a services environment and .NET
> 
> 
> Lots of people have thought about that for a long time, including
> Cleve Moeller.   The potential clever soul should be well above
> average, and considering MS products, well above MS average programmer.
> 
> An intriguing way to parallelize C with threads on multicore processors is
> provided by Cilk (http://supertech.lcs.mit.edu/cilk/).  Cilk consists of
> a couple of simple extensions to the C language.
> 
> If anyone has experience with Cilk it would be nice to share.

The only problem with extensions to any language is that you get a 
hideously low adoption rate.  You could use UPC.  Or Cilk, or ... 
(insert your favorite extension here).  Only a small (miniscule) 
fraction of people will use it, regardless of its technical merits.

> 
>     Dan
> 
> 
> 
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-- 
Joseph Landman, Ph.D
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Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
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