A few questions

Any technical questions about the Epiphany chip and Parallella HW Platform.

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Re: A few questions

Postby Mukti » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:13 am

9600 wrote:There is very little difference between the 16 and 64-core boards in terms of their design and it's mainly the generation of Epiphany silicon that is fitted — which obviously dictates the number of cores.


Does that mean the interface or socket for Epiphany-III and Epiphany-IV are same ?

Any plans to ship Epiphany-III/Epiphany-IV as modules for Project Ara ?
If not, will official tutorials be provided to turn Epiphany processors into Project Ara modules ?
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Re: A few questions

Postby 9600 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:08 am

Mukti wrote:Does that mean the interface or socket for Epiphany-III and Epiphany-IV are same ?


If you look at the spec for the E16G301 and E64G401 you will see that they both use 324-ball 15x15mm flip-chip BGA packaging, and Adapteva designed them to be pretty much pin compatible. The FMC board used with prototypes and the final form factor PCBs are the same with both 16 and 64-core systems, although one difference I am aware of is that the FMC board had a minor mod to use a different voltage regulator when fitted with a 64-core chip.

However, please note that BGA devices are soldered and not socketed.

Any plans to ship Epiphany-III/Epiphany-IV as modules for Project Ara ?


I'm not aware of any such plans, but wouldn't that be great? And since the Ara prototypes will include an FPGA for the on-device network, perhaps this could also host an eLink interface and mean that an Epiphany module would have to contain little more than the device.

If not, will official tutorials be provided to turn Epiphany processors into Project Ara modules ?


I'm afraid this is not the sort of thing you can create tutorials for — if you don't have an appreciation of the challenges of working with BGA devices (and probably the Ara on-device network too), you really don't want to try this at home, as you will almost certainly just end up frustrated and wasting a lot of money. That said, if Ara materialiases and does include a suitable FPGA, I would imagine there will be quite a bit of interest in creating an Epiphany accelerator module for it...

Cheers,

Andrew
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Re: A few questions

Postby Mukti » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:34 am

Thanks for the answers.
I would like to ask, when and where can we buy a 64-bit Epiphany IV or Epiphany V chip ?
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Re: A few questions

Postby sebraa » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:04 pm

Never.
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Re: A few questions

Postby ninlar » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:16 pm

sebraa wrote:Never.


How about "indefinitely" for now. If my side project completes and the backers follow through, the first thing I'd do is buy the Adapteva IP and keep it going. I've had enough deals fall through, but I try to be optimistic. I wonder if the epiphany was just a little bit ahead of its time for it to gain critical mass on the market. As big data, machine learning, etc. continue to grow I can imagine something like a PCIe card with multiple Epiphany-Vs and on-board memory being in demand. Easier to do high performance computing with a massive array of general purpose (or in this case DSP) cores instead of FPGAs or ASIC development.

Some people mentioned that a problem that is preventing people from developing for the board is that patterns are different and maybe the learning curve is a bit higher. Instead of traditional "threads" and / or task based programming, you have to think a bit differently to get the best out of the co-processor and consider the NoC and memory model. While that may be true, it really isn't that much different than what people are doing when doing CUDA or OpenCL right? Creating processing elements or "kernels" to execute on the co-processor cores. And if people want to go the task based route while being ignorant of the architecture, the tools present an API like that are possible to get the beginners going.

I mentioned in another thread that if the tooling could be made better like writing an extension for Visual Studio, Eclipse, CodeBlocks or whatever that contains templates to easily scaffold new projects such as a solution with a host project and a kernel or PE project. The plugins to these popular IDEs could also facilitate easily build, deployment, and debugging of the Parallella board as well. Add a daemon to Parabuntu that allows the board to be easily discovered on a network via some sort of UDP broadcast or ICMP. Lower the barrier to get going and I think the masses would come.

Finally, I am so impressed at how much got accomplished already. From what I can tell it was what Andreas and (how many others at Adepteva?) plus a small community of brilliant people that pulled off: the Epiphany Chip, RISC ISA, eSDK, eLink, OH! Library, eGCC, Epiphany Linux driver, remote debug server, eGDB, Parabuntu, circuit schematics, documentation, eBSP, COPRThreads, OpenSHEM, ePython, etc.

Sure there are some projects that seem to have stalled like the plugin for Eclipse seems to have no activity. But from what I can tell the LLVM port is ongoing. Not sure about PAL. So impressive what a small group of people pulled off. Imagine if you the capital to give those people a full-time salary to keep doing the work on the tooling and bring on some additional resources. Once the tools are there and easier to use in a known popular IDE, I think this thing would take off. I so wish I had the money to do something like that.
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Re: A few questions

Postby DonQuichotte » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:29 am

Nice to see some enthusiasm again ; you're welcome ninlar :)

Allow me some digression and miscellaneous thoughts.

*coin mining is a nonsense to me.
As the world becomes hotter due to human activity, as for example the datacenters consume today as much as a whole country,
*coin mining won't help. (Nor the millions of GPU for video games, or my single-core 72 W or full-throttling 140 W CPU)
Moreover I recently told to myself "The solution is not technical, Parallella or whatever. If politicians/people ignore the issue, nothing will change.
If today we use N watts per country(/people) and nobody says "we must use N' watts in 2020... 2025..." (N' < N)
then the Parallella (or whatever) will be used to have MORE computations but THE SAME number of watts.
That makes me sad ; and I never loved politics but global changes partly depend on it.

Nevertheless for technical reasons I love Parallella too, and for technical reasons I might compare a CPU *coin miner with a Parallella *coin miner, just for curiosity.
And I found it the most energy efficient platform for basic integer operations and backtracker algorithms (compared to a GPU, two high-end x86-64 computers, Raspberry Pi 3, Odroid XU4).
And since Epiphany V is over :'( I am trying again to learn about the FPGA thing (myHDL among others).

More than money imo: making it an ASIC is a tremendous challenge, Andreas was one of the rare people (genius) that could do it.

A 300/400 $ Parallella IV would have been an affordable alternative: for clusters it's better to get 1 Parallella IV instead of 4 Parallella III... obviously.
Flops per watt, number of cables, wires... obvious.

There is already a *coin miner in the examples: riecoin.

Here is what you can get from the Zynq 7020 on a (standard 1602) Parallella III :
Programmable Logic Cells 85K
Look-Up Tables 53,200
Flip-flops 106,400
Extensible Block RAM 140 * (32 or) 36 Kb (Kbits) = 560KB -- these Block RAM may be split by two halves, configured for a SDP (Simple Dual-Port) design.
Programmable DSP Slices 220
What I currently ignore is the number of logic items used by the 16-core Epiphany.
Anyway I'll start with no Epiphany first - with FPGA the less challenges the better.
I give you these information because I've read from FPGA experts that it's the very first step to do for programming hardware - not intuitive for software programmers, isn't it.

With my best wishes
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Re: A few questions

Postby sebraa » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:47 am

ninlar wrote:
sebraa wrote:Never.
How about "indefinitely" for now.
The Epiphany-III is for sale, and will remain so until it is out of stock. While I do not know if the Epiphany-IV was ever for sale in larger quantities, it is marked as End Of Life, so it has no future. The Epiphany-V, being a DARPA project now, will in all likelihood never be available publicly. I am not sure if the IP could work well within an FPGA, but the logistics behind chip production are enormous.

ninlar wrote:I mentioned in another thread that if the tooling could be made better like writing an extension for Visual Studio, Eclipse, CodeBlocks or whatever that contains templates to easily scaffold new projects such as a solution with a host project and a kernel or PE project. The plugins to these popular IDEs could also facilitate easily build, deployment, and debugging of the Parallella board as well. Add a daemon to Parabuntu that allows the board to be easily discovered on a network via some sort of UDP broadcast or ICMP.
These are all good ideas, especially the service discovery (which is common nowadays). Could have reduced quite a bit of support here.

ninlar wrote:Lower the barrier to get going and I think the masses would come.
This is where I strongly disagree. Andreas' experience has shown that the masses won't come. The Epiphany is a good design, but it competes against some very strong enemies, and it is not obvious whether a manycore - in the long run - is a better solution. It is a very good fit to some problems, but if other approaches solve the majority of problems equally well, then the masses will turn to them.
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