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The Role of Associative Array Processors in Data Base Machine Architecture Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131379D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 13 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

P. Bruce Berra: AUTHOR [+4]


~Jo ~

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The Role of Associative Array Processors in Data Base Machine Architecture

P. Bruce Berra

Ellen Oliver

Syracuse University

~Jo ~

(Image Omitted: With content addressing and parallel processing capabilities, associative array processors are potentially useful for data base management.)

Associative memories and associative processors were extensively discussed in the literature of the late 1950's and early 1960's. Researchers then recognized the advantages of addressing data by content and parallel processing. More specifically, they recognized the potential advantages of these devices in information retrieval. However, since early devices required extensive hardware they were expensive, small, and difficult to work with. There was the added drawback of slow input and output. The time required for processing within the memory/array was negligible compared to load/unload time. Thus, this largely reduces the memory array speed advantage in comparison to more conventional devices.

Recent advances in LSI, VLSI, and memory technology have led to greatly reduced hardware costs with a concomitant reduction in size and increase in capability. These factors plus rising software and personnel costs have been instrumental in the renewed interest in associative memories and processors.

These devices are particularly important to data base management primarily because of two basic capabilities: content addressing and parallelism. That is, in searching for data these devices access by content rather than by hardware storage address, and do the searching in parallel. Because searching is a fundamental data base function, the renewed interest in utilization of associative memories and processors for data base management is understandable.

This article is concerned with the utilization of associative array processors of the STARANI type in data base management. The basic organization consists of an associative array containing the data being processed, auxiliary/secondary memory for temporary or permanent data storage, and a wide bandwidth interface for use in rapidly staging data into the array.

Throughout this discussion we will assume that the relational data models 3 is utilized. We will view the data as two-dimensional arrays. The associative processor array is also two dimensional, thus yielding an efficient mapping between the structure of the data and the physical structure of the hardware.

Our discussion begins with a description of the architecture of associative devices, then reviews the literature in which bit/byte-sli...