Prop-2 Release Date and Price

tryittryit Posts: 71
edited November 15 in Propeller 2 Vote Up1Vote Down
Given the amount of positive progress to date, can Parallax commit to a release date? Price per chip? Price per development board?

Tryit
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  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,867
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Almost certainly not. To make such a commitment now would be very rash.

    I am certain that we will know these things as soon as they are actually know by any one.
  • tryittryit Posts: 71
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Fair enough. Do we have enough information to suggest a tentative release date sometime in 2015? 2016? What are the latest specs?
  • evanhevanh Posts: 4,450
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The Prisoner's Dilemma, in english - "Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups." - Quoted part from 2007, D.S Wilson/E.O Wilson.
  • Dave HeinDave Hein Posts: 5,309
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    So the rough schedule is have a big get-together at Parallax headquarters in the Fall, which will be announced 6 months prior when there is a fully functional P2 FPGA image. Fall starts September 23, and ends December 21. Therefore, the earliest date for a fully functional FPGA image is March 23, and the latest date is June 21.

    Chip said in his interview that he thought the FPGA image would take about 4 more months, so I'm hoping for an FPGA image by June, and the get-together around the end of Fall. Maybe this year we will have a merry Chipmas. :)
  • tryittryit Posts: 71
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Regarding the big get-together, is this a private party, or a public thing, or perhaps a Mini MakerFaire? A MakerFaire would be a great way to introduce the Prop-2. Does the chip have an official name yet?
  • msrobotsmsrobots Posts: 1,777
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    As far as I know this will be a public thing. The basic plan seems to be to provide interested developers with some hands on training on using the Parallax FPGA and/or other FPGA boards to run the proposed P2 and test it BEFORE it will make its way into final silicone.

    The goal seems to be to give developers a head up start before the chip is produced, and also to find eventual errors/mistakes/whatever.

    Mini Maker Fair might describe what will wait for you there. Somehow. I went to Rocklin once, and I did not regret spending the money to go down there for 3 days last year. It was a blast.

    Highly recommended.

    As for the name - no clue.

    Enjoy!

    Mike
    I am just another Code Monkey.
    A determined coder can write COBOL programs in any language. -- Author unknown.
    Press any key to continue, any other key to quit

    The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this post are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,659
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    msrobots wrote: »
    ...
    The goal seems to be to give developers a head up start before the chip is produced, and also to find eventual errors/mistakes/whatever.
    Yup and that last bit is very important.
    The verilog need to be field proven before they commit to masks.

    Plus there is no harm in also proving Development Software flows, and getting some publicity before signing the big cheques.. :)
  • msrobotsmsrobots Posts: 1,777
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    You are absolutely right there @jmg.

    I am not sure about the publicity part of it. I wish there will be some. But it will be a quite interesting event. So I am sure that I will run down to Rocklin in the fall, putting some more miles on my 1995 SL500...

    Enjoy!

    Mike
    I am just another Code Monkey.
    A determined coder can write COBOL programs in any language. -- Author unknown.
    Press any key to continue, any other key to quit

    The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this post are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.
  • tryittryit Posts: 71
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Is the Propeller-2 the highest priority Parallax project at the moment? Is the current push propelled by internal forces or external market forces?
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,867
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'm very sure it is a high priority given the amount of time and money sunk into it already.

    However, that does not mean that other things don't need attending to, like developing and selling other stuff, to keep the lights on.
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,659
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    tryit wrote: »
    Is the Propeller-2 the highest priority Parallax project at the moment? Is the current push propelled by internal forces or external market forces?
    Given it is their only Chip Design project Parallax have active, it can be labeled both their highest and lowest priority one ;)

    As with all Chip Design projects, it is propelled by both internal and external forces.
  • tryittryit Posts: 71
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    So in a nutshell, no word on date, price or name as of Feb. 16th. Although Prop-2 is progressing and imminent in 2015. What about specs, are these firm yet? Is the following article accurate?

    http://parallax.com/news/2014-09-19/propeller-2-schedule-update-longer-we-work-simpler-our-new-multicore-design-will
  • FredBlaisFredBlais Posts: 316
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    tryit wrote: »
    So in a nutshell, no word on date, price or name as of Feb. 16th. Although Prop-2 is progressing and imminent in 2015. What about specs, are these firm yet? Is the following article accurate?

    http://parallax.com/news/2014-09-19/propeller-2-schedule-update-longer-we-work-simpler-our-new-multicore-design-will

    You're doing the same thing as I did, but in 2015 instead of 2006.
    I got really excited by the first post of that thread : http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php/90019-What-would-you-want-more-of-cogs-or-RAM

    I've been monitoring the Prop 2 forum every day for a couple years. I started to lose interest when they made the bad silicon and when I heard about the thermal issues and the chip redesign from scratch.

    Don't get me wrong, I want to be one of the first to test the new chip. But for now, I concentrate a little bit on other stuff like making custom boards for the Intel Edison.

    In my opinion, Prop 2 availability is still far way. Even when it's out, it will take a lot of time before having a manual as nice as the one for the Prop 1. Be patient!
  • Brian FairchildBrian Fairchild Posts: 440
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    tryit wrote: »
    ...imminent in 2015...

    My prediction is FPGA images in 2015; real production chips in 2016 at the earliest.
  • rod1963rod1963 Posts: 750
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    FPGA image in late 2015 and silicon in late 2016, provided the shuttle runs are successful.
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 22,582
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @tryit, As you said, no word on date or price. It'll probably be called the Propeller 2, but there's no official word there either. Specs are not firm either although it'll probably be close to the most recent FPGA image that was posted. The article from Ken was "right on" when it was posted. Bottom line ... Chip or Ken will post updates when they have something to say. Until then, we're free to post comments, thoughts, ideas, criticisms, etc. which may be looked at or ignored. When it's finally available, it will be wonderful and work really well. Use the Propeller 1 when you can for projects and products. It's reliable, clean, will be available for a long time. I'm looking forward to the new boards and development software with wireless program downloading including the use of iPads for development.
  • tryittryit Posts: 71
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Mike Green wrote: »
    When it's finally available, it will be wonderful and work really well.

    Fair enough.

    Since we're on the subject, why did it take so long to get here? Are there lessons to be learned here?
  • evanhevanh Posts: 4,450
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Someone correct me / fill in details where appropriate:
    - Ideas for the Prop2 were discussed openly years before first designs even started.
    - Some naivety in Fab differences ... other issues beyond my knowledge ... caused a total failure of first shuttle results.
    - Time was allotted to adding community ideas and experimentation.
    - Belated thermal considerations found design was too hot so was aborted outright.
    - Further learning of modern methodologies created new work flows.

    And Chip Gracey is kind of a one-man-band so the manpower is somewhat limited.
    The Prisoner's Dilemma, in english - "Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups." - Quoted part from 2007, D.S Wilson/E.O Wilson.
  • PaulusPaulus Posts: 1
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I think the main problem is the one-man design
  • evanhevanh Posts: 4,450
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    It could be argued, as always on this point, that being a one-man design is one of the benefits. And mistakes can seriously throw out the schedule of a large team as well.

    It is the way it is. We just have to be patient. Parallax could have been doing all the work in secret and made no official statements and the existence of the Prop2 design would be only speculation.
    The Prisoner's Dilemma, in english - "Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups." - Quoted part from 2007, D.S Wilson/E.O Wilson.
  • LawsonLawson Posts: 870
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Paulus wrote: »
    I think the main problem is the one-man design

    AFIK, that's one of the reasons for the "- Further learning of modern methodologies created new work flows."

    Specifically I think they're outsourcing much of the layout work. I.e. the bits that take lots of man-hours and expensive tools to do. Thus saving Chip for what he's best at.

    Marty
    micro-power experiments with the propeller.
    Drivers for TAOS TSL3301 line sensor Forum thread, and OBEX
    Lumen Electronic Jewelery Website
    My AWD motorcycle Website and action video
    What I'm paid to work on. UW Lidar Group.
    FME, a Spin-only floating point library with trig, exponential, and logarithm functions. OBEX and Forum.
  • rod1963rod1963 Posts: 750
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    With a competent design team it wouldn't have taken 8 + years. Nor would they have naive enough to take input from a bunch of hobbyists as to what to include in the design the P-2 which then imploded and set back the design.
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 22,582
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    "what to include in the design ... which then imploded" --- That's not what happened.

    First of all, there was a mostly finished design for a Prop 1A with the added instructions (MUL, DIV, etc.) originally left out of the Prop 1 plus the additional I/O pins allowed for in the Prop 1 design. The commercial software used to test the final chip layout (and used for the Prop 1) had a bug in it that prevented the design from being completed. This bug was never fixed and started to delay the project too much. The first Prop 2 design had an unfortunate mistake in it that caused the first shuttle run to be useless except for some very basic structure testing.

    "naive enough to take input from a bunch of hobbyists" --- a lot of the forum members are hobbyists. A few of them have extensive experience in a variety of areas ( hardware / software / compiler and operating system design & implementation / chip design / processor architecture / ... ). It's a very rich pool of expertise. The P2 design is much improved as a result of this process.
  • evanhevanh Posts: 4,450
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    rod1963 wrote: »
    With a competent design team it wouldn't have taken 8 + years. Nor would they have naive enough to take input from a bunch of hobbyists as to what to include in the design the P-2 which then imploded and set back the design.

    The thermal simulation was never executed previously afaik, even before the failed shuttle run. My understanding is Chip just didn't know how hot it was going to be. There was no implosion due to community input.

    As for the so called eight years, a decent amount of that was public talk time before any action was taken.

    And as Mike just said, I had almost no knowledge, it would seem there was a Prop1B in a holding pattern for some of that time. It's becoming clear now the old methods that had previously been used had failed them so they had to change tact. That really does take anyone time to reorganise around.
    The Prisoner's Dilemma, in english - "Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups." - Quoted part from 2007, D.S Wilson/E.O Wilson.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,867
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    With a competent design team it wouldn't have taken 8 + years. Nor would they have naive enough to take input from a bunch of hobbyists as to what to include in the design the P-2 which then imploded and set back the design.
    Those are rather strident criticisms that demand a little rebuff.

    Are you sure about those assertions?

    In my experience and from general reading of tech industry news for decades competent teams are quite often running seriously over time and or over budget. Many projects fail and get cancelled or end up not selling and get cancelled. Being in industry where companies hold their cards close to their chests people don't get to hear about many of those failures. They may not take 8 years, but they can burn through a ton of cash before a project is canned.

    As evidence I offer two examples: The Inmos T9000. The Intel 432 (And Itanium I think). I'm sure others here can suggest more.

    I would hardly consider Chip naive.

    Companies may not traditionally be holding open house on an internet forum but they do have an army of sales people and field application engineers who are talking to and working with their customers. For sure they are keeping tabs on what their customers are doing and what they may need in future devices.

    Parallax does not have such an army and this is the internet age so what happened on this forum can be seen as a brave new experiment. I would also point you to the developers at the RISC V CPU design project at Berkeley, they are now engaged in exactly a similar process of user input via the net. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5gLmcFuvdGbajs4VL-WU3g

    "bunch of hobbyists" is rather insulting to the many people on this forum who are professionals and have in some cases decades of experience. They may not be chip designers but they certainly are experienced MCU users.

    What actually are you suggesting? Could have been that Parallax hired a bunch of "competent" chip designers and the thing either still didn't work out or ended up nothing like what Chip intends and nobody wants. It would have cost a fortune as well.
  • ErNaErNa Posts: 1,018
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    It is a simple combinatorial task: if the probability to identify a competent designer is 99%, creating a competent design team show probability of 98%. Five people form a team with 95% probability to be competent. But: are 99 from 100 available designers competent? Improbable. So let's calculate with 5 people and 95%, which still is only one dump head in 20: 77%. Or: 90%, still optimistic: 59%

    This # is only to create a competent team! Not a good product.
    What Parallax did with P1 was impossible until then. What Parallax does is impossible until now. I stopped working with chips after the T9000 crash, which turned all my investments to dust and only started over, when Chip's chip gave me an instrument to do for $10 what I could do decades before with an investment of $1000. And what about hobbyists. The American Amateur Radio Relay League pioneered communication, packet radio was promoted by amateurs, the Tamagoshi was invented by an amateur, Carl Benz was a fanatic, ... I was lucky to stand aside when a few persons grouped around Chip and started discussion on how to use a memory block intended as a look-up-table as a stack and what could be done, if two stack pointers use the cells from bottom and top. .... And remember the idea of LMM, originated by Bill. I know what I am talking about when I talk about "competent" engineers. Like specialists in spectrometry of UV from 253-254 nm. ;-)
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,867
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Nice probability calculation. I made it 59% as well.

    It assumes the team is a only as strong as it's weakest link. One "dump head" and you are in real trouble.

    Which makes me wonder....

    Years ago I worked with a hardware engineer on largish embedded project comprising software, hardware and a big custom chip. Over lunch one day we were exchanging career stories and he explained that he had been working for 15 years or so and every one of the dozen or so project he worked on had been cancelled. He then went on to list them all, some quite well known things in that industry at that time.

    You now make me think that if "a team is only as strong as it's weakest link" then perhaps he was the "dump head" that had doomed all those projects for so many years. A scary thought.

    Needless to say that project was also canned after two years work :)
  • bruceebrucee Posts: 222
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I might as well throw some gasoline on the fire here. My perspective is the broad general purpose micro market. When the P1 was introduced, I thought it a novel design, but for acceptance into the general market PASM and SPIN were non-starters. In the general market C has been the standard embedded language for many years before the P1. The general market has coalesced around ARM as it is much easier for teams to move to a new project and new vendor if the tools and environment they are using are familiar to them. Yes there are still 8/16 bit hangers on, and they will for a long time, but major micro vendors have mostly abandoned other architectures. Am I suggesting Parallax be designing an ARM, heck no.

    As for the market, if it is the hobbyist/educators, then I understand that less, and there it is proper for Parallax to listen to its forums in it design of products. When the P1 was introduced it was such a diversion from the BASICstamp that few of their customers moved over. And many of them probably became more open to looking at alternatives such as Arduino. Now the P1 compared favorably in performance to the BASICstamp, but combined with interpreted SPIN that performance was inferior to Arduino, and look at the price of Arduino products vs Parallax it compared poorly. Add to that another missing feature was 5V tolerance on pins, not 5V operation, but tolerance. A tough thing for the hobbyist market to swallow then and for some even now.

    I too have been involved in big projects that have been canceled, but also others that went on to sell millions of units. Projects get canceled for lots of reasons, many times it is just the market changes and what looked like a good idea at the start turned out to be too late or too expensive. Then it makes sense to kill off a project. I can say that no where would an 8 year project be tolerated, especially when it consumes a major portion of the R&D budget. It is one thing to let a small proportion of funding go into some tangent research project. During the last 8 years look at what other things have happened in the hobbyist community, first Arduino has taken over the low end market, other hobbyist aggregaters have grown up, namely SparkFun, AdaFruit, Seedstudios and others. Then cheap ARM alternatives followed by RasbPi and now Edison. In the early days the BASICstamp was quite successful as there were not many alternatives for the hobbyists unless they wanted to do board design and handle ZIF sockets with UV EPROMs and mostly write in ASM. But now there are lots of cheap alternatives. So my question is why is Parallax still chasing the Propeller dream? When you can get cheap ARMs for less than $1, designing a CPU is like saying let's design our own SMT capacitor. It is just a commodity.

    How much better off would we be with $5M spent on better tools for micros or integration with WiFi or Tablets or phones?

    And to preempt the questions about why I kibitz here, it makes more sense to kibitz on Parallax business practice here than to make suggestions to Radio Shack. And why do I watch, I check it out every 6 months or so to see what is happening, and why even that? I guess I like watch slow motion train wrecks.

    So my answer to this forums thread "release date and price" -- too late and too much.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,867
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    brucee,

    I agree, I disagree, let's see.

    Yes PASM and Spin are a no-no for general acceptance. Spin is actually nice and easy but that matters not when you are up against masses of people who expect either BASIC or C.

    But then, I find it amazing that the Arduino has taken off so well when it uses that huge and complex, decidedly beginner unfriendly language C++. Who would have guessed that would worked out?

    I don't think ARM is the main point for most MCU users. We had embedded products on 68xxx that moved onto PowerPC MCUs. That moved on to ARM. That work on on Intel or even MIPS It's the software stack that matters, if it's available on a new chip who cares what the instruction set is?

    I cannot see how P1 performance is inferior to Arduino. Price is an issue, as is 5v tolerance for the hobby market.
    ...no where would an 8 year project be tolerated,....So my question is why is Parallax still chasing the Propeller dream?
    It's Chip's dream, it's his company. I'm glad there are people in the world with such dreams.
    Then cheap ARM alternatives followed by RasbPi and now Edison.
    What do you mean "followed by"? As far as I know there were no Raspi like devices as cheap as that prior to the Raspi. The Edison is a sad attempt at grabbing that market.
    ...designing a CPU is like saying let's design our own SMT capacitor. It is just a commodity.
    Interestingly the RISC V project exactly wants to do that. They want to be free of Intel and ARM. They are backed by Google, Amazon, FaceBook, MS, the Indian Government. Many big players want that freedom. Chip was ahead of the pack with that dream at least.
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,659
    edited February 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Heater. wrote: »
    Interestingly the RISC V project exactly wants to do that. They want to be free of Intel and ARM. They are backed by Google, Amazon, FaceBook, MS, the Indian Government. Many big players want that freedom.
    Notice the list is companies more interested in stockholder positions, than in actually building something.
    Investing in this gives good press-releases, and a chance to play a little FUD.
    It may even help talk-down the ARM fees... a little
    The real challenge comes long after the press releases, which is the developing of the following generation.
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