IEEE Transactions on Computers

IEEE Transactions on Computers (TC) is a monthly publication that publishes research in such areas as computer organizations and architectures, digital devices, operating systems, and new and important applications and trends.


From the June 2015 issue

SpiNNaker—Programming Model

By Andrew D. Brown, Steve B. Furber, Jeffrey S. Reeve, Jim D. Garside, Kier J. Dugan, Luis A. Plana, and Steve Temple

Featured article thumbnail imageSpiNNaker is a multi-core computing engine, with a bespoke and specialised communication infrastructure that supports almost perfect scalability up to a hard limit of $2^{16} \times 18 = 1,\!179,\!648$ cores. This remarkable property is achieved at the cost of ignoring memory coherency, global synchronisation and even deterministic message passing, yet it is still possible to perform meaningful computations. Whilst we have yet to assemble the full machine, the scalability properties make it possible to demonstrate the capabilities of the machine whilst it is being assembled; the more cores we connect, the larger the problems become that we are able to attack. Even with isolated printed circuit boards of 864 cores, interesting capabilities are emerging. This paper is the third of a series charting the development trajectory of the system. In the first two, we outlined the hardware build. Here, we lay out the (rather unusual) low-level foundation software developed so far to support the operation of the machine.

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