Shrinking the IBM Roadrunner Supercomputer to desktop form factor - Wafer Scale Integration

> > > > > > The IBM Roadrunner Supercomputer, with Petaflop capacity can be scaled > > down in size and power consumption to > > desktop form factor by expanding the size of the standard microchip to > > that of a full 12 inch silicon wafer. Network > > all the processing cores and memory on the wafer together, with > > infiniband or optics or other technologies, and you have a system of > > systems on a very large silicon chip which is silicon wafer size. If > > this does not provide enough processing power, any number of the > > silicon wafers with the networked processor cores can be stacked > > vertically and > > networked together. Power supply and heat dissipation will have to be > > dealt with. The design can be optimised > > using electronic design automation software, soft computing and > > computational intelligence technologies. Thus, > > you can produce petaflop processors in desktop form factor. This can > > be called MacroProcessors on MacroChips. > > > Ian Martin Ajzenszmidt > > One question... what are your thoughts on yield for such a proposal? > > Neal- Hide quoted text - > > - Show quoted text -

The technique described in the proposal is also known as Wafer Scale Integration and has been around for at least 20 years. A Wikipedia article on wafer scale integration can be found at

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It states "The vast majority of the cost of fabrication (typically 30%-50%) is related to testing and packaging the individual chips. Further cost is associated with connecting the chips into an integrated system (usually via a printed circuit board). Wafer-scale integration seeks to reduce this cost, as well as improve performance, by building larger chips in a single package =96 in principle, chips as large as a full wafer.

Of course this is not easy, since given the flaws on the wafers a single large design printed onto a wafer would almost always not work. It has been an ongoing goal to develop methods to handle faulty areas of the wafers through logic, as opposed to sawing them out of the wafer. Generally, this approach uses a grid pattern of sub-circuits and "rewires" around the damaged areas using appropriate logic. If the resulting wafer has enough working sub-circuits, it can be used despite faults."

This wikipedia article also states "Wafer-scale integration, WSI for short, is a yet-unused system of building very-large integrated circuit networks that use an entire silicon wafer to produce a single "super-chip". Through a combination of large size and reduced packaging, WSI could lead to dramatically reduced costs for some systems, notably massively parallel supercomputers."

The following abstract from

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l4r78/. states

Alessandro Zorat1, 2

(1) Department of Computer Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 11794 Stony Brook, New York, USA (2) Present address: Istituto di Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica, Loc. Pant=E8 di Povo, 38050 Trento, Italy

Received: 25 July 1986

Abstract With the advent of wafer-scale integration (WSI), the placement of several processors on a single VLSI wafer is becoming a realistic possibility. To avoid the problems of a very low yield inherent in any silicon component of (very) large area, redundant components will be used. In this article we examine three different solutions for reconnecting the nonfaulty processors so that the resulting network is a square grid. We then present results of simulations for various percentages of faulty processors, which show that a small amount of redundancy is the interprocessors paths and a simple back-track based algorithm can produce a resulting grid that, while not necessarily optimal, includes most of the nonfaulty processors. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, under grants ECS-80-25376 and ECS-83-05195."

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