Modern Marvels: Computers ?? no graphics supers
rdawson16 at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 10 15:06:34 CST 2007
I totally agree with you, todays GPUs are screamers. Did you know that the
core of NVIDIA's design team came from SGI?
Sad to see that company went wintel... I think they were almost de-listed
from the stock excchage at one point, as the stock dipped below a dollar.
Jim, have you followed the recent threads in the news, to use the GPU
processor fabric as a general purpose engine, not just for pixels? If you
have IEEE access, search GPU.
Due to the PC gamers, we really do have a supercomputer on a card for 40
bucks or less. If anyone else is exploring this topic, please reply or
email me rdawson16 at hotmail dot com.
I think the strenght of the Stardent system was a combination of things from
Gordon More and Seymour Cray, their rules for supercomputer design. The
memory bandwidth was awsome for the time, and with 4 processors and a vector
unit accessing it independently, crunching code from a compiler that knew
how to vectorize and divide tasks.
I had a chance to represent another company (I was a graphics consultant to
NASA) Superset- they had a cool idea too, to process Fortran in near native
instruction of the machine. They used bit slice 2901s from AMD to create a
A (operation) B = C machine, and a compiler to generate this code. So the
machine was sort of a hardware interpreter. If you look at todays DSPs they
are very similar, they can read an operand, write an operand and perform a
computation in a single cycle.
I have Stardent (Kubota) Dore' running today and porting my old app to it.
I wrote the PC roller coaster simulator, COASTER. I want to re-spin it, now
that fast GPU hardware has finaly arrived and in every PC.
My rose colored glasses recall all of these machines booting to prompt and a
screen in seconds. They always ran for months without a crash, and could
read/write 500 mbyte images/data files in seconds too. The PC aint there
I write this from FreeBSD, I took all the 'Gates' out of my computer, and
guess what, it still works.
Thanks for your coments, Jim.
>From: Jim Battle <frustum at pacbell.net>
>Reply-To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic
>Posts"<cctalk at classiccmp.org>
>To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
><cctalk at classiccmp.org>
>Subject: Re: Modern Marvels: Computers ?? no graphics supers
>Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 13:44:55 -0600
>Randy Dawson wrote:
>>Lost, sadly was the machine between then and now, the Graphics
>>Supercomputer. In an effort to add computational speed to graphics and
>>scientific visualazation, two vendors went head to head on this problem,
>>Ardent and Stellar.
>>If you were around at the time, and saw one of these I would love to hear
>>from you. The performance was truly spectacular. I had a chance to use
>>one for a couple of years, and it still comes pretty close to current GPU
>>tec in graphics performance. With pipeline vector processor and compiler
>>to unroll loops it was WOW. Todays Ghz processors cannot beat a vector
>>machine in computation, Titan had a 16 Mhz 1K floating point vector ALU.
>Randy, no doubt you know a lot more about the ardent/stellar/stardent stuff
>than me. I was aware of it and I once got hold of the design spec for the
>TOE processor (the 4x4 pixel "stamper"). However, I think you aren't aware
>of how sophisticated todays GPUs are.
>16 MHz * 1K flops = 16 Gflops. A single top end GPU is more like 500
>GFLOPS (single prec only, though). Today's GPUs have myriad pixel formats,
>including ARGB with an FP32 for each component. Pixel shaders are highly
>programmable. A single GPU can have > 80 GB/sec of bandwidth to DRAM (not
>The TOE processor was a fixed point affair with limited, fixed point
>precision. There is no comparison. I wish I still had the spec to make a
>more concrete comparison.
>A google search turned up this quote:
>With the Dore' rendering package [Borden89], each processor is capable of
>rendering a maximum of 20,000 smoothly shaded small polygons/seconds.
>Today's GPUs can render thousands of times more triangle per second,
>antialiased, with multiple, high quality texture maps and arbitrary
>Another google search
>says that the Titan 1 had a 125 ns clock period and two FPUs, for 16
>MFLOP/s peak. Perhaps you recall 1K FPUs, but maybe it was a 1K vector
>register length. The same pdf (written by Philip Koopman) says that even
>with four processor, and with a large (1000x1000) array size, the titan-1
>peaked at 15.7 Mflops. It attributes this to the fact that the aggregate
>bus bandwidth of the titan was 256 MB/sec. By rewriting the linpack code
>to block the data appropriately, they got it up to 46 MFLOP/s.
>So, overall, I think there is no comparison. The rose colored glasses of
>time have fooled you.
>>Are there any graphics guys on the list?
>Yes, from the hw end of things.
The average US Credit Score is 675. The cost to see yours: $0 by Experian.
More information about the cctech