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The Supercomputer Toolkit: A General Framework for Special-Purpose Computing

Abelson, Harold; Berlin, Andrew A.; Katzenelson, Jacob; McAllister, William H.; Rozas, Guillermo J.; Sussman, Gerald Jay; Wisdom, Jack

HPL-94-30

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Abstract: The Supercomputer Toolkit is a family of hardware modules (processors, memory, interconnect, and input-output devices) and a collection of software modules (compilers, simulators, scientific libraries and high-level front ends) from which high-performance special-purpose computers can be easily configured and programmed. Although there are many examples of special-purpose computers (see[4]), the Toolkit approach is different in that our aim is to construct these machines from standard, reusable parts. These are combined by means of a user-reconfigurable, static interconnect technology. The Toolkit's software support, based on novel compilation techniques, produces extremely high-performance numerical code from high-level language input. We have completed fabrication of the Toolkit processor module, and several critical software modules. An eight-processor configuration is running at MIT. We have used the prototype Toolkit to perform a breakthrough computation of scientific importance- an integration of the motion of the Solar System that extends previous results by nearly two orders of magnitude. While the Toolkit project is not complete, we believe our results show evidence that generating special-purpose computers from standard modules can be an important method of performing intensive scientific computing. This paper briefly describes the Toolkit's hardware and software modules, the Solar System simulation, and conclusions and future plans.

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