[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Parallax Propeller processor

Hi all,

I hadn't seen this before, but it looks interesting from an
occam/transputer point of view.

Parallax have a new line of relatively cheap ($25) multi-core
microcontrollers. Each chip will run at 80MHz, has 32 IO pins, and
contains eight processor cores each of which has 512 32-bit words of
RAM. There's some shared memory in each chip through which the cores can
communicate. The cores are fairly nondescript register machines; they
aren't spectacularly powerful, but they're fast enough for interesting
embedded applications.

Parallax's site about the chip is here:

There's a more general introductory article here:

The reference manual (worth reading) is here:

The programming language they've developed for it, SPIN, bears some
syntactic resemblence to occam. They describe it as "object-based", but
it's not really OO in any meaningful sense (there's no dynamic memory
allocation, for a start); each "object" is a lump of procedural code
that runs on a single core, and can start up jobs on other cores and
communicate with them using the shared memory.

The processor and language are clearly aimed at embedded developers, and
the development system looks unpleasantly proprietary, but it looks like
it might be a fun system to play with. In particular, it would be a nice
system to develop an occam subset for (aimed at generating extremely
small code); their development tools provide no safety guarantees at

Adam Sampson                                         <http://offog.org/>