Mill Computing, Inc. Forums The Mill Architecture A random smattering of questions. Reply To: A random smattering of questions.

Ivan Godard
Post count: 627
    1) What is NaR + NaR? Whose metadata used?

It will be one of the inputs; which one is implementation dependent.

    2) A process (thread 8 in turf 5) spawns and dispatches a new thread (thread 22475). That thread (22475) kills itself. What is the OS to do about the original thread (8)? It can’t dispatch it: the process has no threads parked in the kernel turf. Can the OS only kill that process? What happens to the resources used by the thread?

OS (and RTS) policy. For example, an exception handler within the thread being unwound might dispatch out. There are some bottom turtle issues in thread death, just as there are for permission revoke, and we are not sure we have everything covered; there may be additional helper operations added to the ISA in the future as we (and the OS implementors) gain more experience.

    Stated alternatively: can I create a convoluted process by which a poorly written OS can leak machine resources?

Of course, FSVO poor.

    3) In units of ALUs, how much hardware are you throwing at making a call a one-cycle operation?

As compared to a 5 cycle call operation say, very little. As compared to a call without without the spiller, quite a bit, but hard to measure in those units. The spiller has internal SRAM for skid buffering, probably about as much as a top level cache – how many ALUs is a cache? The rest of the spiller and the belt are roughly the same as the bypasses on a conventional. Essentially all the call cost is the spiller.

    4) Will all operations have the same latency across all Mill chips? Your examples have always had that multiply is a three cycle operation. Would a Mill ever be delivered with, for instance, a five cycle multiplier?

Hardware latency is specified individually on a per-FU basis in our configuration tools. Not only can latency vary across family members, they can also vary per slot within a single member, so a chip could have a fast (expensive) multiplier and also a slow (cheap) one.

    You haven’t done the talk on virtualization yet, so this may be answered later….
    Popek and Goldberg’s virtualization requirements ( ) assert that all sensitive instructions must be privileged for efficient virtualization. You have repeatedly asserted that the Mill does not have privileged instructions. That would imply that you have no sensitive instructions, or the Mill is not virtualizable in the sense of Popek and Goldberg.

There are no sensitive operations. All control is via the address space and the protection mechanism.

    5) The idea behind virtualization, for many people, is the ability to run an unmodified OS (as from Microsoft or Apple) as an application within another OS. This is so that one can sell a single computer to multiple dupes under a “cloud” computing scam, or allow one to use Microsoft Office natively running on Windows which is magically running on Linux. Will the Mill be virtualizable in this sense?

Not yet announced because NYF.