Mill Computing, Inc. Forums The Mill Markets Continuous Refinements Reply To: Continuous Refinements

Ivan Godard
Post count: 689

Mill is not limited to 2x multicore; you can have as many Mill cores on a chip as will fit if you can power and feed them. Our best guess at the moment is that the constraint in current tech will be pin bandwidth to memory. If on-chip memory and/or direct fiber gets real then we expect the constraint to become cooling, although it might be intra-chip inter-core routing. All are WAGs.

At heart though you have identified the fundamental tech problem: CPUs don’t scale. Mills don’t either, it’s just that we have better constants. Details:

* GenAsm is pretty extensible. It does not have any assumptions about belt size, FU population, cache size, etc; all that information is provided by the specializer from the desired target description. The emulation substitution mechanism is quite generic; if the genAsm contains an op invocation that the target doesn’t have then the specializer searches for a function of a related name and signature and substitutes it for the op. So each member carries a bundled specializer for that target and a library of emulation functions for every ISA op that exists on any Mill. That library can be later updated by DLC to handle later Mill versions with new ops. This system breaks down only if a member ISA has an op that cannot be represented as a function in other ISAs. For example, code for a member with a supercollider-management op won’t work in a Mill that doesn’t have a supercollider to manage 🙂

Aside from particular ops, genAsm is fairly high level, a direct SSA representation of the program. The bulk of our problems with LLVM have been because LLVM IR is lower-level than genAsm, and we can’t recover information that clang/LLVM have thrown away. There’s a fair amount of the machine that you can’t reach from C, including most of the NYF.

* We doubt that a 6-bit morsel would pay, and are quite sure that a 7-bit one doesn’t.

* There’s enough flexibility within the Mill architecture to permit a lot of tuning without having to depart incompatibly. To make a change big enough to be worth while then it would be a new architecture, and no longer a Mill. For example, a capability machine might have a belt, but would no longer be a Mill.