Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.652570
Title: The design of a sparse vector processor
Author: Hopkins, T. M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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Abstract:
This thesis describes the development of a new vector processor architecture capable of high efficiency when computing with very sparse vector and matrix data, of irregular structure. Two applications are identified as of particular importance: sparse Gaussian elimination, and Linear Programming, and the algorithmic steps involved in the solution of these problems are analysed. Existing techniques for sparse vector computation, which are only able to achieve a small fraction of the arithmetic performance commonly expected on dense matrix problems, are critically examined. A variety of new techniques with potential for hardware support is discussed. From these, the most promising are selected, and efficient hardware implementations developed. The architecture of a complete vector processor incorporating the new vector and matrix mechanisms is described - the new architecture also uses an innovative control structure for the vector processor, which enables high efficiency even when computing with vectors with very small numbers of non-zeroes. The practical feasibility of the design is demonstrated by describing the prototype implementation, under construction from off-the-shelf components. The expected performance of the new architecture is analysed, and simulation results are presented which demonstrate that the machine could be expected to provide an order of magnitude speed-up on many large sparse Linear Programming problems, compared to a scalar processor with the same clock rate. The simulation results indicate that the vector processor control structure is successful - the vector half-performance length is as low as 8 for standard vector instruction loop tests. In some cases, simulations indicate that the performance of the machine is limited by the speed of some scalar processor operations. Finally, the scope for re-implementing the new architecture in technology faster than the prototype's 8MHz is briefly discussed, and particular potential difficulties identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.652570  DOI: Not available
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