[TUHS] (early parallel/concurrent computing) (was: unix "awesome list")

Lyndon Nerenberg lyndon at orthanc.ca
Wed May 9 09:06:09 AEST 2018

> On May 8, 2018, at 8:31 AM, Steve Johnson <scj at yaccman.com> wrote:
> My company, Wave Computing, has built a chip with 16,000 8-bit processors on it.  And we have plans to build systems with up to a quarter million processors.  We are breaking ground in new ways to use hundreds of processors to solve problems very quickly.  It's a new way of thinking, and it makes your brain hurt.  But is is what the hardware is giving us, and there is at least another order of magnitude ahead before this trend starts running out of steam.

This might be going a bit out-of-bounds for the mailing list, but ...

How does what you are doing compare with the work the Myrias folks were doing in the mid-late 1980s with their n-way 680x0(?) parallel machines?  Didn't they make it to 256 processors before it collapsed?  I'm not aware of any papers that came out of their work, although I would think there must have been at least a few.  (Dan Wilson, are you on this mailing list?)

I didn't have the opportunity to see what Myrias was putting together as their OS.  But I did get to play with an indirect off-shoot of their work: a massive scale (for the time) file server, based on some of that parallel processing technology.  It mimicked the Plan9 Venti in some ways.  It was very block-oriented in its external API, and I used that lowish-level API to write a backend file store for the big-a** IMAP servers we were developing at the time.  I'm sure it would have kicked NetApp and friends around the block, but this was the late 1990s, and we were limited by 100 Mb/s Ethernet, so there was no real way to tell.


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