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Android processor shines light on dark silicon

8/24/2010 04:33 AM EDT
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munggnum
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re: Android processor shines light on dark silicon
munggnum   8/24/2010 6:36:41 AM
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Sols sounds a bit jaded. I attended this talk, and it seemed reasonable to me. Dark Silicon was a term coined by ARM CTO Mike Muller back in 2009. The talk has some good data about where dark silicon is coming from and how bad it's going to get -- very bad. The technical idea is to use the dark silicon area to attack the problem that caused the dark silicon problem in the first place -- power. The "accelerators" that they propose seem different than conventional accelerators in that they are automatically generated and play nice with the memory system, and in that they are intended to reduce power consumption, not necessarily to increase performance. This is probably why they use the term conservation core as opposed to accelerator. In the article, there is some mention about issues with putting the MIPS core in a low power state while the accelerators are running, but that seems to me to be fairly easy to address through power-gating cells.

Dave.Dykstra
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re: Android processor shines light on dark silicon
Dave.Dykstra   8/24/2010 6:20:15 AM
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sols comments are right to the point. However, it looks like the main issue here is to resolve the problem by somehow improving the areas that are utilized. I would more expect researchers at an esteemed institution such as UCSD to be looking for ways to make those "dark silicon" areas usable. At least they seem to have come up with a way to improve the situation, but that should not be the accepted norm.

asolomatnikov943
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re: Android processor shines light on dark silicon
asolomatnikov943   8/24/2010 5:26:21 AM
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Amazing - come up with new fancy names for a few well known things and EETimes will write an article about you. Relabel low activity factor to "dark silicon", hardware accelerators to "conservation cores" - and here it is.

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