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!


(1) http://www.eetimes.com/design/eda-design/4219256/Hot-Chips--the-puzzle-of-many-cores