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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday March 23 2017, @07:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the big.Little-just-couldn't-decide dept.

ARM will replace the big.LITTLE cluster design with a new one that allows up to 8 CPU cores per cluster, different types of cores within a cluster, and anywhere from one to many (unlimited?) clusters:

The first stage of DynamIQ is a larger cluster paradigm - which means up to eight cores per cluster. But in a twist, there can be a variable core design within a cluster. Those eight cores could be different cores entirely, from different ARM Cortex-A families in different configurations.

Many questions come up here, such as how the cache hierarchy will allow threads to migrate between cores within a cluster (perhaps similar to how threads migrate between clusters on big.Little today), even when cores have different cache arrangements. ARM did not yet go into that level of detail, however we were told that more information will be provided in the coming months.

Each variable core-configuration cluster will be a part of a new fabric, with uses additional power saving modes and aims to provide much lower latency. The underlying design also allows each core to be controlled independently for voltage and frequency, as well as sleep states. Based on the slide diagrams, various other IP blocks, such as accelerators, should be able to be plugged into this fabric and benefit from that low latency. ARM quoted elements such as safety critical automotive decisions can benefit from this.

A tri-cluster smartphone design using 2 high-end cores, 2 mid-level cores, and 4 low-power cores could be replaced by one that uses all three types of core in the same single cluster. The advantage of that approach remains to be seen.

More about ARM big.LITTLE.


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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23 2017, @09:05PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23 2017, @09:05PM (#483399)

    The understanding of the details on which are built those high-level frameworks is slowly being locked away in the in the walled gardens of giant corporations. The only way to solve problems will be to do so within their set of concepts, because it will be too complex to reverse-engineer just what's going on.

    The user is being pushed to increasingly higher levels of abstraction (as you note), which are attached to reality through carefully guarded industry secrets. The world of computing is ever more magical.

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  • (Score: 2) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Friday March 24 2017, @08:46AM

    by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Friday March 24 2017, @08:46AM (#483570)

    I have an idle long-term plan for that: Build an auditable computer from scratch. Would probably take decades though.

    It would involve fuse ROMs programmed through CRC protected toggle switches. Then using those ROMs to build periperals like keyboards and monitors that you can trust.

    Would involve code correctness proofs as well. I am hoping that as complexity goes up, the formal proofs will greatly reduce debugging time.

    Goes off to start dreaming for reals.