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Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power

1/23/2012 12:14 PM EST
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petewislon
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re: Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power
petewislon   2/16/2012 5:16:22 PM
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The Moore patents are pale echoes of real, shipped products - the transputer family from Inmos (true, they weren't built in a DRAM process, but...) And even before that, there was ICL's Distributed Array Processor, which put a tiny single-bit processor in each (rather small at the time) DRAM chip, so you got thousands of processors for no incremental increase in chip cost. The machine ran as a SIMD device, of course. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transputer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICL_Distributed_Array_Processor

Code Monkey
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re: Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power
Code Monkey   1/25/2012 4:46:12 PM
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This thing is going to rock the world.

ughhhh
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re: Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power
ughhhh   1/24/2012 6:16:11 PM
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DRAM needs refresh to top up leaking capacitors used in the memory matrix. The logic itself needs no refresh. Looking at the commercial price of DRAM then this is a nice approach if the logic content is relative low and DRAM access time is no problem.

resistion
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re: Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power
resistion   1/24/2012 5:16:18 AM
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If the chip also needs DRAM refresh every so many ms, that's a power sink as well.

daleste
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re: Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power
daleste   1/24/2012 2:42:01 AM
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This has always been a trade off. Logic combined with memory. The two have different needs for process. You end up paying more for the process of the part of the chip that doesn't need it. Memories also don't shrink as easily as CMOS logic. This can hold you back as you work to get the memory into the next node. Having a simpler process can really save a lot of manufacturing cost and time, but the logic will be lower in performance. I haven't studied it, but I would assume that this processor has been optimized to still be competitive. I also assume that it is aimed at applications that don't need the highest performance.

rhfish
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re: Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power
rhfish   1/23/2012 11:42:55 PM
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David's iRAM is probably the best known previous efforts, although the first known description of CPU in DRAM dates from 1989: http://www.pat2pdf.org/patents/pat5440749.pdf (see Fig. 9) iRAM, Exacube, Gilgamesh, Cyclops, and others embedded DRAM in logic processes. TOMI embeds CPU cores in existing DRAMs. The primary benefit is a 500x advantage in cost: http://www.edn.com/photo/294/294788-microprocessor_vs_memory_transistors_graph.jpg Regards, Russell

HankWalker
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re: Startup proposes processor on DRAM process to save power
HankWalker   1/23/2012 9:55:36 PM
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I recall Ivan Sutherland proposing "logic in memory" systems in the late 1970s. We only had two metal layers then. More recently, David Patterson's iRAM project proposed vector-style computing with processing and memory on the same chip. This sort of chip is most likely to work with multi-threading approaches similar to the Sun Niagara, targeting applications with significant thread-level parallelism, such as web or database.

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