back to article Tachyum's Prodigy emulator achieves first boot, runs Linux and says 'hello, world'

Tachyum has announced a milestone on the road to finally launching its much-vaunted high-performance "universal processor," Prodigy, with a first-boot into Linux - but its FPGA prototype is still a long way away from proving the company's bold claims. Founded in 2017 by a team made up of Skyera and SandForce co-founder Dr …

  1. Steve K
    Coat

    Hmm

    If it runs too hot then it might be a Firestarter.

    if the claims prove true then it sounds like it may be Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

  2. karlkarl Silver badge

    "'Universal processor' startup still no nearer to proving bold claims of tenfold performance gain over Chipzilla, AMD"

    I'm not sure it matters. If it is open and doesn't do creepy things like the others, it should win out slowly in the end (unless it gets bought by Intel or AMD of course which is unfortunately too likely).

    1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Or it doesn't exist at all, except to con money out of investors.

      If they're really about to release the FPGA emulator to customers, then at least someone will get a look at what the instruction set looks like, and how novel it really is.

      Have they patented anything? Then the patents will be published.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Or it doesn't exist at all, except to con money out of investors.

        <cough>quantum computing<cough>

        1. Paul Kinsler

          <cough>quantum computing<cough>

          On the contrary, quantum computing only exists because - first - a diverse bunch of physicist thought it would be cool thing to achieve, and although they might need money to investigate it, they weren't asking "investors".

          It might now be that - subsequently - a range of people use "quantum computing" to "con money out of investors", but this is not why quantum computing exists (whether in its current limited state, or in general).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: <cough>quantum computing<cough>

            It is both a con and not a con at the same time.

            1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: <cough>quantum computing<cough>

              And you only find out by investing in it.

  3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Maybe I'm just too cynical, but a tenfold performance gain over Intel and AMD is a ridiculous claim unless they are trying to claim tenfold performance based on power consumption in which case I'd suspect that this outfit would claim their metric against the most power hungry Intel and AMD chips and not against their mobile offerings.

    Not that another processor platform and competition is a bad thing, but this one comes across like yet another charlatan.

  4. Alan J. Wylie

    Transmeta

    "Low power", "dynamic binary translation software layer" (although most processors translate instructions to microcode anyway): this reminds me of Transmeta, and look what happened to them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Transmeta

      They should've moved from VLIW to FLIW.

    2. Tom Chiverton 1

      Re: Transmeta

      Ah, yes,where Intel payed a few hundred million dollars to shut them down by banning them from making x86 chips.

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Transmeta

      Didn't Clive Sinclair at one point fund development of a clock-free CPU which was going to revolutionise everything? I have a feeling that Ivor "I've read Maxwell's equations and don't think much of 'em" Catt may have been involved.

      1. Alan J. Wylie

        Re: Transmeta

        "Anamartic" was wafer scale integration: external software programmed faulty circuits to be bypassed.

        I've got a copy of The Catt Concept: The New Industrial Darwinism on my bookshelf, it must be a very long time since I bought/read it, though.

      2. jotheberlock

        Re: Transmeta

        I don't know about Clive but it has been tried in a research setting - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMULET_microprocessor

        Never really panned out though.

        1. Ozzard
          Boffin

          Amulet (and Spinnaker)

          An ex-housemate worked on AMULET. Apparently Steve was really quite peeved that the first silicon had more than zero bugs in it, as everything he'd previously designed had come back bug-free first try. I mean, the design was only an order of magnitude bigger than anything asynchronous that anyone else had ever attempted...

          The spiritual descendant is really Furber's Spiking Neural Network (Spinnaker) work - neuron simulation using only kilowatts of power, rather than megawatts. Worth the look.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Ride

    The FPGA will never be faster than a native implementation.

    It's easy to take an ISA and make it 10x faster, but then when you have to implement edge cases, boundary and other checks, interrupts, any reasonable housekeeping and you'll find it is actually 10x slower.

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Re: Ride

      One assumes they'll bake it into real silicon once it's solid ?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        You know what they say about assume . . .

  6. batfink

    It'll want to be a good simulator

    To replace Keith...

  7. User McUser
    Joke

    Still waiting for the Atom Chip

    Personally, I'm still waiting for the previous unbelievable breakthrough in CPUs to be released - The Atom Chip

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have in my box of bits an Inmos T800 Transputer board. They were supposed to revolutionise everything. The software I was working on, well we dropped support when you needed 30 of the buggers (at £1,000 a throw) to get the same performance as a 90MHz PII.

    The Intel/AMD architecture may be horribly complicated and burdened by backward-compatibility, but so long as megabucks keep getting thrown at it, it will be around for a while.

  9. cjcox

    Next thing you know...

    Next thing you know, they'll be hiring Linus Torvalds (memories)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rings a bell

    Demonstration videos?

    Sound like Magic Leap (or whatever they were called) Mark Two to me. Maybe they are using their playbook?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I connected it...

    ... to my Theranos via my Shotspotter, powering it by my Cold Fusion device, and the output was scanned by my ADE 651 bomb detector and the results were amazing.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    But, can it run Crysis ?

    Sorry, I'm leaving . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, you should posting jokes that old. I get scruffy bearded Linux fans aren't known for their comedy, but... this is pretty shoddy.

  13. Denarius

    a longer throwback

    More like the goals of project Tangerine in 1980s. Apple, IBM and others. Add in Itanic to TransMeta reference and one can see how how goals have reduced until this came along. Cant see how it can claim speed increase. IMHO, the various ARM derivatives look a more likely bet for at least partial success. If they demonstrate lower leccy use, one may trully become dominant.

  14. FF22

    Transmeta

    Anyone remember Transmeta? ...... Exactly.

  15. AdmFubar

    or maybe get one or two of these

    https://news.umich.edu/first-programmable-memristor-computer-aims-to-bring-ai-processing-down-from-the-cloud/

  16. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Scam confirmed

    If it can boot and print hello world, then it's capable of doing basic computation.

    If they can't even cherry pick a basic benchmark that runs faster than a commodity processor, it's dead on arrival.

  17. eolsen29

    Tachyum is approaching this development in a highly professional manner. They're verifying the Prodigy design judiciously because failure is not an option. Keep in mind Tachyum will share a similar advanced TSMC technology as the big boys. The way I see it, by combining CPU, GPU and TPU, the Prodigy will deliver a broad range of processing capability in combination with broad software compatibility, and at a much lower price than the big boys in the cloud. I have no connection with this company, but I'm bullish in terms of this venture!

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