Learn and know when to stop

A project log for PDP - Processor Design Principles

Distilling my experience and wisdom about the architecture, organisation and design choices of my CPUs

yann-guidon-ygdesYann Guidon / YGDES 05/30/2019 at 14:460 Comments

Elegance is one of the most striking qualities of the classic Cray computers.

It's not just the raw performance that counts, if you can't make it right and useful.

Seymour Cray was there at the dawn of the "Computer Big Bang" and pioneered many groundbreaking technologies but also used conservative approaches where it mattered.

Today, something else counts more than before : he envisioned things and thought them through, thoroughly, in his big obsessed brain. Today's computers are so complex that it's impossible to have the complete picture in one's head. But the fact that Cray's mythological machines could fit in one's brain means that they are easier to use, their raw power is more accessible and useful.

Cray machines are notoriously not-microcoded, then there was the big RISC race in the late 80s/early 90s but the philosophy has been lost and today it's almost impossible to reach the theoretic peak MIPS/MFLOPS.

K.I.S.S. : Keep It Simple and Smart ;-)