I think what Ian is talking about in this message should become a research project for somebody. Surely there is a trickle of funding somewhere for some students working on an XMOS or Adapteva system. It fits in perfectly with the challenge that David's slide show presents. In fact it is the major sticking point. A little brainstorming follows.
On Oct 2, 2012, at 4:23 AM, Ian East <ian.east@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Well, that is what all the programmers outside our list seem to think, so it is our job to prove it is not so!!! My feeling is that David is right and, in fact, that the solution will be easier than many expect. This is based on the following conjecture, based on experience: When you have MORE THAN TWICE as much of a resource as you need, the problem of programming (at least in respect of that resource) becomes far easier.
Due to Moore's Law, everyone has been working in conditions where external communication is extremely scarce compared with raw processing power (including memory access). The comms-to-IPS ratio (physical dimension: bytes per instruction) has been decreasing rapidly, but perhaps, if David is right, that decrease is coming to an end. If so, it's paradigm change time.
This is where we need basic research. After all, in the real world it's easy. How is that?
I think we can do better - especially since "a whole mess of channels" may cost no more than a whole mess of memory bytes do now. One possibility I thought of is tree broadcasting (physical analogy: QR code [2D barcodes] snapshot, but each broadcaster notes the "camera flash" as an ack to detect full reception, if it is going to reuse that piece of "print area"). Because it's read only, the receivers can do "snapshots" in parallel, and the ack countdown too (if it's something like closing series switches, detected when all are closed). Even subset notification should be pretty cheap, if each tree branch is, say, 1 to subset of 16.
"Real" here should be way ahead of the curve, anticipating the changes that David talked about, especially photonic comms. I am talking about some strange-looking algorithm design, that when the hardware catches up raises its hand and says "here I am!"