Peter Clarke, EETimes
6/19/2013 7:03 AM EDT
Professor David May, a leading computer scientist, has looked at producing an implementation of a simplified ARM instruction set architecture. He has started work on the project in the interests of teaching how processors work and the fundamentals of parallel programming.
Professor May revealed the project – based around the 30 or so most-useful ARM Thumb instructions – at the end of a lecture entitled "Heterogeneous processors: Why?" given at the Multicore Challenge one-day conference organized by Test and Verification Solutions Ltd. (TVS) recently and held in Bristol.
Professor May, of Bristol University and who is also CTO of XMOS Ltd., is still probably best known as the lead architect of the transputer, a processor designed explicitly for ease of parallel processing.
As I expected, he provided much food for thought in his talk. I was unable to attend the conference, but thanks to TVS archiving material on YouTube I have been able to experience the presentation almost as if I had been there.
In his talk Professor May pointed out that heterogeneous multiprocessing systems have been around for a long time but he also argued for keeping systems simple and, where possible, resisting the urge to use multiple architectures, in the interests of simplicity and computational and development efficiency. "One architecture means one set of programming languages and tools," he pointed out.
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