Battle royal breaks out over Russian chip claim

But it's jaw-jaw really

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A bitter argument has broken out over a claim that Russian technologists were the first to develop superscalar microprocessors, later adopted by Intel. Mark Smotherman, writing from a US university, said: "I would like to correct, for the record, the statement in Intel uses Russia military technologies" by Andrei Fatkullin in which he says: "Superscalar architecture was invented in Russia." "The first superscalar design was the IBM ACS-1 supercomputer,designed in Menlo Park, California, in the mid-1960's at IBM's Advanced Computing Systems by a team that included John Cocke. In fact, the vision for a computer that decoded and issued multiple instructions per cycle was due to Cocke. "The ACS-1, which was cancelled in 1968, would have issued up to seven instructions per cycle: three index register instructions, three floating-point register instructions, and one branch. The floating-point register instructions could be issued out-of-order from an eight-entry "contender stack" that was scanned on each cycle. "Each floating-point register had a "backup register" so that a new value could be loaded into the backup register while dependencies still existed with the previous value. (This is a simple form of register renaming). "There was a condition register with 24 individually-addressed bits so that independent compare instructions could be executed in parallel. Moreover, each instruction included a skip flag so that the instruction would be executed or not based on a current skip condition, which was specified as a logical operation between two condition bits. (This is a simple form of predication). " Branches were implemented using two types of instructions: a "branch" instruction that evaluated a logical operation between two condition bits and placed that result along with a branch target address into a branch table; and, an "exit" instruction that selected the first tabled branch that evaluated to true.(This is a form of multiway branching.) "Simulations of the ACS-1 on the innermost loops of a scientific code such as Newtonian Diffusion showed a sustained instructions-per-cycle value of 1.8. On this code, which contained branches within the body of the innermost loop, a 100 MHz ACS-1 would have been 76 times faster than the CDC 6600 and 22 times faster than the IBM S/360 Model 91. " The ACS-1 was described in the "Western literature" in 1971 (see reference 3)." However, Alexei Pylkin, aprogrammer-researcher at the Supercomputer Software Department, Russian Academy of Sciences Novosibirsk, Akademgorodok, has refuted Smotherman's argument. He said: "I'd like to note that ACS-1 was experemental design while Elbrus-1 was a mainstream computer. Serial production of Elbrus-1 started in 1977 but research on superscalar architecture was done in Russia in the same time frame as in IBM. "Experimental ACS-1 had no successors. The second Western superscalar processor has appeared only in 1992. Serially produced Elbrus-1 had successors - serially produced Elbrus-2 (1984), microprocessor El-90 (1990, prototypes)." Smotherman produced references to support his argument, which follow: 1. John Cocke, "The search for performance in scientific processors," Communications of the ACM, vol. 31, no. 3, March 1988, pp. 250-253. 2. Emerson Pugh, Lyle Johnson, and John Palmer. IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991. [see section 7.5, which covers ACS] 3. Herb Schorr, "Design principles for a high-performance system," Proceedings of the Symposium on Computers and Automata, New York, New York, April 1971, pp. 165-192. 4. Mark Smotherman, "IBM Advanced Computing Systems -- A Secret 1960's Supercomputer Project," available online. ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story


Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.