While Intel continues to lead the world in research and development of Many-Core Chips such as the SCC, the Chinese Academy of Sciences is working on a multi-core version of its earlier Godson chips. According to sources at EET(1), Godson-T, like IBM's Blue Gene/Q, "seeks to exploit thread-level parallelism through provision of many—up to 64—simple CPU cores on a die. But unlike Intel's SCC and Blue Gene/Q, which can count on having the finest scientific programmers, Godson-T is aimed at applications coded by teams less experienced with multiprocessing."
A shortcoming of the Godson chipsets are a lack of x86 support. Like SCC, however, they do support Linux-based applications.
During a recent presentation at the annual Hot Chips conference, Godson researcher, Dongrui Fan described the philosophy behind their many-core offering. Here are some of the observations by those in attendence: "On the surface, the Godson T architecture is not unlike those of other many-core offerings. There is an array of relatively simple MIPS-derived cores, each with its own cache, local memory, and connections to the rest of the die, and all unified by a large L2.
But instead of a complex, custom-designed central crossbar, Godson’s cores are arranged as an array with vertical and horizontal connections between elements. Each core includes an internal router that permits low-latency routing to neighbors and worm-hole routing across the die. There are actually two physically independent networks, permitting low latency even when some cores are doing high-bandwidth DMA bursts.
There is a chip-wide coherency scheme based not on conventional bus snooping or directory structures, but on a mutual-exclusion lock instruction and on an additional hardware block that watches the bus and detects deadlocks."
There is also, in each core, a Data Transfer Agent—essentially a super DMA controller—that accelerates movement of complicated data structures over the on-chip networks. The hope, according to presenter Dongrui Fan, is that these structures will speed implementation of thread-rich codes on the chip.
And so, the race to produce the next-gen cloud computer continues...stay tuned!