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Re: Transputer Development System, 2006? (aka Sony PS/3 runs multi-core Linux)

Hi Tony,

Funnily enough I've just read the IEEE Computer article on virtualisation (separate virtual OS's) [pp12-14, November issue]. This is the Nth time virtualisation has crossed my horizon and it appears to have a lot of support - I guess IBM proved its value back in the VM/370 days and there are now several companies offering software for single-processor machines.

It seems to me more like having several CPU's just happening to be on the same silicon (with cost savings in sharing memory etc.) - a rather limited interpretation of parallel computing. I am certainly finding it useful to have a "dual" processor so I can leave a compute-intensive task running and still do email (as now) without it going annoyingly slowly.

I suspect the occam community is thinking of something more complex in terms of concurrency.


Dr Barry M. Cook, BSc, PhD, CEng, MBCS, CITP, MIEEE
4Links Limited,
The Mansion,
Bletchley Park,
MK3 6ZP,
----- Original Message ----- From: "Tony Gore" <Tony@xxxxxxxxxxxx> To: "Barry Cook" <Barry@xxxxxxxxxxxx>; "Chalmers, Kevin" <K.Chalmers@xxxxxxxxxxxx>; "Matt Jadud" <mcj4@xxxxxxxxxx>; "Andrew Delin" <Andrew.Delin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: <occam-com@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 12:07 PM
Subject: RE: Transputer Development System, 2006? (aka Sony PS/3 runs multi-core Linux)

Hi Barry

Out in one part of the world, multicore has got some uses - Microsoft's
Virtual Server can allocate a virtual machine to a core, so that it is
possible (say) to have one core allocated to the "host" and three cores
allocated to three separate VMs. Since you can then network these, it is
possible to have very coarse CSP.

Now what would be interesting is if this development were to go further,
and whole chunks of the OS be put onto specific cores.

In my area - I do a lot of Windows Small Business Server support, I
could see a great improvement in security and robustness. For example,
one core handling all the traffic to the outside world e.g. running the
firewall and VPN processes, and everything else communicating through
them would ensure that at least perimeter security could be dealt with
more effectively.

Overall the security and robustness could be improved, because instead
of a monolithic OS that is growing patch by patch, then it is possible
to have a divide and conquer approach that makes use of the multicored

Obviously, it would be nice to have a lighter weight inter-process
communication than the full Ethernet stack running on Virtual hardware,
but it seems to me that the server virtualisation is a good target for a
coarse CSP approach, and at this atage, we need to convince people that
CSP is a valid approach.

Tony Gore

email  tony@xxxxxxxxxxxx
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-----Original Message-----
From: owner-occam-com@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-occam-com@xxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Barry Cook
Sent: 29 November 2006 11:35
To: Chalmers, Kevin; Matt Jadud; Andrew Delin
Cc: occam-com@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Transputer Development System, 2006? (aka Sony PS/3 runs
multi-core Linux)


It probably says nothing about Intel's views on parallel development.

Intel's business is selling chips and if they can offer even slightly
more performance for no more effort from customers (keep the same
software) they will achieve their goal.

Even great gains in performance that include re-development of software
(whether easy or not, anything is more effort than nothing) are more
difficult to sell (recall Inmos).

I'm still trying to find the compelling reason that will convince the
world to jump to parallel software - and thinking along the lines of it
needing to be new software and maybe to reduce power consumption (as is
a paper at Eindhoven). This is leading me to think of embedded systems
that are relatively small (in terms of lines of code as well as for
energy or size).
If you add reliability / safety-critical supported by formalism then
Automotive might be a target (as suggested by Eric Verhulst), as might


Dr Barry M. Cook, BSc, PhD, CEng, MBCS, CITP, MIEEE CTO, 4Links Limited,
The Mansion, Bletchley Park,
MK3 6ZP,
----- Original Message -----
From: "Chalmers, Kevin" <K.Chalmers@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Matt Jadud" <mcj4@xxxxxxxxxx>; "Andrew Delin"
Cc: <occam-com@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:52 AM
Subject: RE: Transputer Development System, 2006? (aka Sony PS/3 runs
multi-core Linux)

Perhaps a little off topic on this one.  Myself and Jon Kerridge were
looking at Intel's descriptions and plans with multi-core.  From what we
can gather, their plan is to remove any need to develop parallel
systems, and let the system try and work out the best approach.  It
seems Intel believes that parallel development is too difficult.  Sigh.

Kevin Chalmers
Research Student
School of Computing
Napier University

Hi Andrew,

Damian Dimmich at is working towards this; he had a paper in CPA 2006
that explores just this issue, and has a working port of the
Transterpreter (a small, portable runtime for occam-pi) to the Cell.


Running on top of Yellow Dog would be the easy way in; Damian is
exploring code distribution and code generation for multi-core targets

like the Cell, and (currently) has 9 separate instances of the runtime

environment on a single CPU.

See the paper for more details; also, since Damian is on this list, he

might have additional comments or be able to address more specific
questions that you or others might have.


Andrew Delin wrote:
> Team, I thought this was interesting.
> Why might we be interested in the release of Sony's PS/3 games
> Because it contains a multi-core Cell processor - and can run Linux.
> Fred and others - I am wondering if it is possible to release a KROC
that targets this platform and takes advantage of the multiple
inside the new Sony console. This would give a true parallel machine
run Occam-Pi. It could be used as a modern 'TDS' with several cores to
> Nine cores is very tempting - and rather cheap. I understand the YD
Linux distribution doesn't fully use all cores, but perhaps an
build could? If we can piggy back on the interest in Linux, perhaps we

might get more interest in the process-oriented-design philosophy
discussed on this group.

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