Sunday, December 02, 2007

Improving the AEMB

My brain has been toying with some ideas for improving my existing 32-bit RISC processor design. At present, the processor has reached the stage of being very useful. It is being used in very unexpected ways by a very cool project. So, I have been thinking of the next direction for the chip. I will certainly solicit input from my users, but for now, I've been toying with a couple of themes.

Firstly, I have been toying with the idea of super pipelines, which is the concept of breaking up the existing pipeline into more shorter stages, in order to increase clock speed. The current AEMB has a 3-stage integer pipeline. It is certainly feasible to push this up to 5 stages, in a classic RISC configuration. This will not increase the speed of each individual instruction, but will increase throughput by having 5 instructions in flight at any one time.

Secondly, I have been toying with the idea of multi-threading, which is the concept of running multiple software processes concurrently, on a single core. This can effectively increase throughput on a core that has to handle a lot of I/O processes. It's quite normal for I/O processes to block, which is halting software processing, as it waits for the I/O to service. With multi-threaded processors, one thread can service the slow I/O, without blocking the other thread. However, this will require software applications to be specifically written to exploit it.

Both ideas will increase the amount of silicon area used for the chip. But hopefully, the increased speed and throughput will make up for it. I will have to balance all the considerations, as the target application for my processor is embedded applications, which typically emphasises size over speed. But it's an interesting way for keeping the design sexy and updated with recent trends.

So, just some ideas to toy with. Of course, I will already be adding L1 caches to the existing design to improve performance.

PS: I designed the logo using Inkscape and open source graphics. I've been playing with it recently. It's a superb drawing programme.


Anonymous said...

why would you want to deface either abdullah or bush face..?

Is it just to be fashionables to be anti government.

The fact that they are not defaces shows that the malaysian generally are apathetic towards issues which you think are important.. especially mahathir who like to grandstand with the western world.. for what purpose?

Shawn Tan said...

dude: i don't want to deface anybody's face.. plus, what has this got to do with the AEMB chip anyway?