FAWN: A Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes

Innovation in computing systems
thrives at the beginning and the end
of technology cycles. When facing
the limits of an existing technology
or contemplating the applications
of a brand new one, system designers
are at their creative best. The past
decade has been rich on both fronts,
particularly for computer architects.
CMOS technology scaling is no longer
yielding the energy savings it used to
provide across generations, resulting
in severe thermal constraints leading
to increased attention to so called
“wimpy processors.” These processors
achieve high performance and
energy efficiency by using a larger
number of low-to-modest-speed CPU
cores. Also in the past decade, the
consumer electronics industry’s investment
in non-volatile storage technologies
has resulted in NAND FLASH
devices that are becoming competitive
for general-purpose computing usage
as they fit nicely within the huge cost/
performance gap between DRAM and
magnetic disks. FLASH-based storage
devices are over 100 times faster than
disks, although at over 10 times the
cost per byte stored.

Source: https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.com/en//pubs/archive/40495.pdf

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