Adapteva announced at the end of July the delivery of the first Parallella computers ordered through its highly successful Kickstarter campaign. The Parallella is equipped with Adapteva’s breakthrough 16- and 64-core Epiphany multicore processors.
The Epiphany multicore coprocessor is a scalable shared memory architecture, featuring up to 4,096 processors on a single chip connected through a high-bandwidth on-chip network. Each Epiphany processor core includes a tiny high performance floating point RISC processor built from scratch for multicore processing, a high bandwidth local memory system, and an extensive set of built in hardware features for multicore communication. The Epiphany coprocessor is ANSI-C and OpenCL programmable and works in cooperation with standard microprocessors to provide unprecedented level of real-time processing to performance and power constrained mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers, as well as improving performance levels for an array of other parallel computing platforms.
The Epiphany-III chip is implemented in a 65 nanometer process and sports 16 cores, and the Epiphany-IV is implemented in a 28nm process and offers 64 cores. This latter chip delivers about 102 gigaflops of performance at 2 watts, or 51 gigaflops per watt. (Adapteva has chosen GlobalFoundries as its wafer baker, by the way.)
The Epiphany memory architecture allows any core to access the SRAM of any other core on the die because the SRAM is mapped as a single address space across the cores. This greatly simplifies memory management, and it has a direct memory access (DMA) unit that can prefetch data from external flash memory.