Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vector Processing Accelerates QorIQ Communications

Vector processors have been accelerating applications since the invention of the first supercomputer at Cray. With the rise of faster and faster microprocessors, however, the single-instruction-multiple-data (SIMD) applications for which vector processing is appropriate--such as graphics--has fallen to algorithms instead of hardware. However, with Intel touting vector processing extensions to its next-generation Sandy Bridge processor due out in 2011, Freescale has integrated its time-proven AltiVec vector processor. Look for communications applications like basestations to start using vector processors to massage higher-speed 4G data streams over the next few years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Single-instruction Multiple-Data (SIMD) architectures perform the same operation on multiple data streams, such as multiple-users on 4G basestations, here using eight parallel operations units (op) each with three input operands.
Here is what EETimes says about AltiVec: Vector processing accelerates tasks even more than multiple-cores, that is if the same instructions are being executed on multiple parallel data streams—called single-instruction-multiple-data (SIMD). SIMD is traditionally used for parallel data tasks such as dimming all the pixels in an image, but new demands from multiple 4G users are now enabling wireless basestations to utilize SIMD. To meet the need, Freescale Semiconductor Inc. is upgrading its venerable AltiVec vector processing unit for its QorIQ family of Power Architecture-based communications processor

AltiVec programmable vector processing architecture incurs no penalty for mixed floating-point and integer operands since it has execution units for both.
Freescale already sells legacy AltiVec processors to industry, military and aerospace customers performing traditional tasks such as image processing, pattern recognition and forward kinematics to position robotic arms as well as for emerging applications such as smart analytics on multiple surveillance cameras. But by adding AltiVec to its leading edge QorIQ processors, Freescale hopes to expand further its penetration of the basestation processor market.
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