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Configurable Computer System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000078666D
Original Publication Date: 1973-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-26
Document File: 3 page(s) / 29K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Cocke, J: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The configurable computer organization which is briefly described herein, is a major departure from the past stored-program computer structure. Surprisingly, however, the notions of program, high-level languages, compiler techniques, and the like, that have been built up over the years readily carry over to this new class of machines. This feature, provides an easy transition to configurable computers, and is a major contrast with previous attempts for obtaining new computer structures such as iterative array computers, modular computers, or "Holland Type" machines which have all failed, in large part, due to the inability to successfully program such machines.

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Configurable Computer System

The configurable computer organization which is briefly described herein, is a major departure from the past stored-program computer structure. Surprisingly, however, the notions of program, high-level languages, compiler techniques, and the like, that have been built up over the years readily carry over to this new class of machines. This feature, provides an easy transition to configurable computers, and is a major contrast with previous attempts for obtaining new computer structures such as iterative array computers, modular computers, or "Holland Type" machines which have all failed, in large part, due to the inability to successfully program such machines.

The main concept of configurable computers, is that the machine structure should attain the natural structure of the algorithm being performed. This contrasts with stored-program machines, in which the algorithm must be molded to the fixed structure of the machine through the program. In configurable computers, a programming language of ones choice may be used to express the algorithm. The main difference is that the program is not used in the conventional way to sequence the computer operation. This difference in approach will become more obvious as the present configurable computer system entitled, An Interconnection Mode Configurable Computer is described.

The most striking advantage seen for configurable computers is that they can achieve the speed advantages enjoyed by special-purpose machines, but also have the general purpose capabilities not possible in special-purpose machines, through the dynamic reconfigurability features provided. Another important advantage is that by having the machine structure itself fit the algorithm, the natural and inherent parallelism of the algorithm is exposed and exploited during algorithm execution. No additional sequencing constraints, due to program instruction sequencing or machine control limitations are imposed. Other advantages of configurable computers include: the same basic structure is suitable over a line of machines of varying performance; a machine can be readily upgraded in performance; the systems are resistant to unit failures; complex control units are not required; individual instruction fetching and storing is not required so memory utilization is simplified; natural data structure can be used to increase memory performance; and some aspects of the systems programming problem are simplified.

The interconnection mode configurable computer concept uses the philosophy of having the computer reconfigure itself, to suit the particular algorithm being performed. The reconfiguration is performed in a direct way, by actually interconnecting operational units into the form of an algorithm or part of an algorithm. For this purpose an n x n interconnection network becomes a central part of the machine. An elementary block diagram of an interconnection mode configurable computer is shown in the fig...