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NEWS: 40-core processor with Forth-based IDE tools unveiled

September 24, 2008

Bernard Cole-September 24, 2008

Cupertino, Ca. - Just unveiled by IntellaSys is its SEAforth 40C18, a 40-core multicore processor designed for embedded wireless, portable, and distributed data processing applications.

The 40C18 is an array of 40 fully functional CPUs operating asynchronously, each of the cores a complete computer, with its own ROM, RAM, and interprocessor communication. Together they can deliver up to 26 billion operations per second. IntellaSys executives claim it has the smallest core size design (0.13 mm2), and consumes 28 times less power while running 240 times faster than competing architectures.

According to Chuck Moore, CTO of IntellaSysand inventor of the Forth programming language, this is done by by creating a RAM and ROM on each core. This allows individual cores run at the full native speed of the silicon instead of being throttled down to a slower external system clock frequency.

An automatic synchronization feature between cores allows the processors to share the computing load by talking to each other to pass data, status signals and even code blocks. When individual CPUs are not active, they automatically shut down or sleep.

"The beauty of this single-chip 40 CPU processing solution is that it is completely programmable -- meaning if a spec changes, it is a code issue, not a silicon turn," said Moore.

"With 40 cores operating independently on the chip, designers can dedicate groups of them to handle specific tasks. For example, some could be assigned compute-intensive Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT) while others handle wireless connectivity, standard I/O interfaces or drive external memory."

When it becomes available in sample and production quantities, the processor will be offered with VentureForth, a Forth-based IDE that includes fully interactive programming, testing, and debugging facilities.

VentureForth includes compilers for both Windows and Linux and a simulator for debugging, and contains low-level primitives as well as the high-level tools necessary to map programs across the array of cores in a SEAforth processor.

The SEAforth 40C18 is capable of executing 80 percent of its VentureForth instructions in 1.38 nanoseconds while drawing 7mW of power or less per CPU.

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