July 05, 2016

"Swarm, a new chip design developed at MIT, could now come to the rescue and unleash the full power of parallel processing for up to 75-fold speedups, while requiring programmers to write a fraction of the code."

gizmag: Developed by Prof. Daniel Sanchez and team, Swarm is a 64-core chip that includes specialized circuitry for both executing and prioritizing tasks in a simple and efficient manner, taking the onus off software developers. by Dario Borghino

'"Swarm has two advantages over conventional multicores," Sanchez tells us. "First, Swarm supports tiny tasks, as small as tens of instructions, efficiently. By contrast, current multicores need larger tasks (thousands of instructions or more) to operate efficiently. Supporting smaller tasks allows more parallelism, simply because there often is a lot of parallelism inside each large task.

'"Second, Swarm enforces a global order among these tasks. By contrast, current multicores cannot support ordered execution efficiently, especially with small tasks."

'This global order is very useful for handling data conflicts. After tasks are automatically prioritized (according to a metric set by the developer), Swarm starts working on the highest-priority subroutines in parallel, taking advantage of its 64 cores. If data conflicts arise, they can now be handled automatically: for instance, if a low-priority task modifies data that is later accessed by a high-priority task, the data value is temporarily reverted to allow the critical tasks to complete sooner.'

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