Battle royal breaks out over Russian chip claim

But it's jaw-jaw really

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story


Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.