[Beowulf] Re: newbies' dilemma / firewire? (Hahn)

Ed Karns edkarns at firewirestuff.com
Thu Mar 9 10:35:25 PST 2006

On Mar 8, 2006, at 12:00 PM, beowulf-request at beowulf.org wrote:

> ... that's nice marketing-speak, but content-free, I'm afraid. ...  
> though I have to say I really don't expect optical WDM firewire to  
> make any difference ;) ... I'd personally love to see something  
> better in every way than GBE/10GE, but just don't see it  
> happening.  no, please, don't suggest IB :)

Well, it can, does and will make a difference "real soon, now",  
considering that since metal conductors are close to the upper  
throughput limits dictated by the laws of physics and laws of  
diminishing returns. Pushing more data through a metal conductor,  
beyond several Gigabits per second, requires more and more power over  
shorter and shorter metal conductors ... and considering power (heat)  
and cross talk (noise) v. conductor length (of antenna) ... you sure  
don't want to open an active box as the microwave radiation could fry  
your gonads (resulting legal action being the main reason no one is  
seriously promoting 20 or 30 Gigabit Ethernet over wires).

Intel (et al) is seeking alternates to the above: http:// 
www.intel.com/technology/silicon/sp/ ... data transfer over packet  
switching networks using multiple frequencies (multiplexed "colors")  
and approaching Terabits per second over a silicon glass fiber bus.

Key point: determination of the protocol of choice for this "Glass  
Bus". Candidates include packet switching and non-packet switching  
protocols:  FireWire, USB, SATA, PCI (e or other), Fibre Channel,  
iSCSI / SAS, InfiniBand, EtherNet and possibly others ... and  
considering that FireWire is the most hardware/ firmware efficient  
for a given microprocessor speed, having the most hardware efficient,  
packet switching network and being peer to peer topography ...

Thus the previous discussion(s) Re: " ... Why is it comparable to or  
faster from a processor running at around 40% of GigaBit processor  
speeds? Processor efficiency FireWire has a 32-bit "risc" type  
microprocessor, is peer to peer in hardware / firmware and has other  
lean architecture features. (Small address space, data frame large =  
more efficient data packet over double duplex connections.)

(Picture this: a coffee can containing multiple processors on  
multiple circuit boards in close proximity fanning out from a central  
glass rod or fiber running through the axis ... linking to other  
coffee cans ...)

EOR = end of rant

Ed Karns

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