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Russian designer could have been inspiration for Pentium name

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Former Elbrus employee, Vladimir Pentkovski is a leading Intel processor architect. The core of the Russian Elbrus team has been together for over 40 years, developing supercomputers for the former Soviet Union's defence establishments. Pentkovski carried to Intel many advanced Elbrus technologies. According to microprocessor expert Keith Diefendorff: "Elbrus has developed computers based on superscalar, shared memory multiprocessing, and EPIC techniques, long before papers on those subjects appeared in the West." At Elbrus, by that time transformed into the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computing Equipment of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Pentkovski took part in the development of Elbrus-1 (1978) and Elbrus-2 (1984) supercomputers and led the development of El-90 superscalar 32-bit microprocessors. Superscalar architecture was invented in Russia. According to Keith Diefendorff, in 1978 almost 15 years ahead of Western superscalar processors, Elbrus implemented a two-issue out-of-order processor with register renaming and speculative execution. The chief architect of Elbrus supercomputers, Boris A. Babaian, says: "In 1978 we developed world-first superscalar computer, Elbrus-1. At present all Western superscalar processor have just the same architecture. The first Western superscalar processor appeared in 1992 while ours arrived in 1978. Moreover, our variant of superscalar is analogous to the Pentium Pro introduced by Intel in 1995." The Elbrus-1 processor instruction set (named El-76) was very complicated. Complex El-76 instructions were translated by special units to simple micro-operations. In 1984, the Elbrus-2 was built. It had essentially the same architecture. In 1986 the 32-bit El-90 microprocessor project was started by a team headed by Vladimir M. Pentkovski. The technical statement of work was created in 1987. The first El-90 prototypes were built in 1990. The El-90 architecture reflects a combination of RISC and Elbrus-2 ideas. El-90 featured - half a million transistors - 32-bit - simplified instruction set (as comparad with Elbrus-2), the majority of which could be executed in one cycle - superscalar architecture capable of executing two instructions per clock cycle - speculative execution - out-of-order execution - branch prediction - register renaming - high-performance pipelined floating point unit - sufficient cache - 10-way multiprocessing support - debugging support In 1990 Pentkovski begun work on El-91S, the successor to the El-90. But due to political and economical changings in Russia financing ceased. For a period from 1991 to 1999, we don't know what Pentkovski was doing. In 1999 his name has appeared again, in the Intel Technical Journal. According to it, Vladimir Pentkovski led the development of Pentium III processor architecture. You can find this reference to Pentkovski here. We would also like to remind you that in 1993 Intel introduced 32-bit Pentium processor with lots of new features - x86 instruction set is very complicated. Pentium has a special unit which translates complex x86 instructions to simple RISC-like ones - superscalar architecture capable of executing two instructions per cycle - branch prediction - pipelined floating point unit - sufficient cache - 2-way multiprocessing support - debugging support In 1995 Intel introduced better architecture, the Pentium Pro - improved x86 instruction decoder unit - improved superscalar architecture - speculative execution - out-of-order execution - branch prediction - register renaming - high-performance pipelined floating point unit - improved 2-way multiprocessing support - debugging support It could be that the Pentium is named after Pentkovski. And now Pentkovski's former chief, Boris Babaian, is going to bash Intel with a revolutionary new Elbrus E2k micropocessor. ® Andrei Fatkullin is a journalist at Russian wire Computerra

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