Volume 16, Issue 6
Week of February 11, 2013
In This Issue
Feature: The Most Important Chip Not Yet Invented
- Reducing the Instruction Set
- The Importance of Patterns
- Be the Pattern
- Evolved Clues
- Find the Element
- Patterns in Space
- Patterns in Time
Quotes of the Week
- Lenovo Put SNS’ “Wall Computing” on the Table
- A Prototypical Digital Signal Processor Chip
- Solar Canals: Implementing a FiRe CTO Design Challenge
In Case You Missed It…
Members Making News
Reducing the Instruction Set
Imagine a blank touchscreen. You draw an irregular line across it, from edge to edge. Then you turn over the 5-minute sand clock next to you. Your life depends upon finding the area under that line.
Now let’s say you are a Ph.D. in advanced mathematics. Obviously, you are going to apply some form of calculus to describe each portion of this constantly changing curve, set various rectangular artificial box boundaries with finite known areas below it, and then calculate the remaining areas in ever-smaller increments, depending on the computing power and time at your disposal.
Or, you could do finite-element analysis, or try to fit Fast Fourier transforms into the shape of the line on ever-smaller sections, or find one of a thousand other clever ways to solve this problem.
In each case, you would be able to use a computer for assistance, which helps. You could program the computer to look at the line from the aspects described above, turning it into finite elements of varying lengths, each with its own straight-line tangential slope approximation. Or you could run other programs to fit your other ideas.
In virtually every instance, however, the computer would need to use sensors – and probably some form of analog/digital converter, most likely a digital signal processor (DSP) chip in the middle – perhaps then reconvert the answer into analog, and format appropriate outputs, while doing all of the serious math in the digital domain, for every data point. So, add a bit of latency here per each calculation.
Not much sand left.
Or (aha!) you could just —