Is The Propeller a modified IP3K?

william chanwilliam chan Posts: 1,315
edited 2006-02-27 - 15:16:57 in Propeller 1
This is the question that has been on my mind.

There are some similarities, like

1. 32 bits
2. 8 processes
3. module based softwares
4. ...anyone care to add on?
There is no such thing as bad news.

Comments

  • BeanBean Posts: 8,028
    edited 2006-02-22 - 02:48:22
    I believe the IP3K allows 8 process threads, but it does NOT contain 8 processors. Like the Propeller.
    Bean.

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  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-22 - 03:41:16
    No, as has been stated many times, the Propeller was designed from scratch by Chip Gracey (with lots of input from Jeff Martin) of Parallax. Some of you may have noticed some odd product offerings (okay, some not so odd) in the past few years, specifically the Altera development boards. The high-end boards were the tools Chip used to develop the Propeller core processor. That design was then transferred -- transistor by transistor -- to custom silicon.

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    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Paul BakerPaul Baker Posts: 6,351
    edited 2006-02-22 - 04:06:03
    It is a common confusion between the concepts of multi-tasking and multi-processing. The IP3K is a multitasking microcontroller, whereas the Propeller is a multiprocessing microcontroller as Bean has stated. There is a fundamental difference between the two. IP3K has a single processor core run at a very fast rate where time slices are parceled out to different tasks. While the Propeller has 8 seperate processor cores all running at the same time. While Ubicom's processor was intelligently designed, it is inferior to Propeller for several reasons. The first is that interprocess communication can occur at a much faster rate on the Propeller, this is because each processor has access to all IO pins each and every processor's execution cycle. The IP3K must wait until the spoken to process's turn comes around. The second is that because the processor IP3K is time slicing its time between many processes, it must be run at a much faster clock rate. This means extra current is required to run the chip and extra heat is generated making it unsuitible for battery powered applications. The Propeller can be run at a much slower clock rate while producing the same amount of processing power, meaning less operating current, less generated heat and much longer life on battery powered applications.

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  • KenLemKenLem Posts: 94
    edited 2006-02-22 - 14:23:35
    >>Some of you may have noticed some odd product offerings (okay, some not so odd) in the past few years

    I have to say that the Altera tools in the Parallax catalog always stood out to me.· You have to admit there is a big jump between a stamp and an FPGA.

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  • william chanwilliam chan Posts: 1,315
    edited 2006-02-22 - 16:27:13
    Who is Jeff Martin?
    Is he a staff of Parallax?
    There is no such thing as bad news.
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-22 - 16:34:14
    Yes, he is one of our senior engineers and responsible for both the Stamp IDE and Propeller Tool. Jeff has been around a very long time and is well known to Parallax customers as he started out in Tech Support. Jeff is one of the nicest people I know, very generous with his knowledge, and a lot of fun to work with. If you get a chance to visit our office be sure to take the time to introduce yourself to Jeff.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Jeff MartinJeff Martin Posts: 602
    edited 2006-02-22 - 18:11:06
    william chan said...
    Who is Jeff Martin?
    Is he a staff of Parallax?
    Hi William,

    I'm Jeff Martin.· You can see my picture... the one with me dressed up way more than I usually am!

    We did not want to emulate or immitate any microcontroller out there, because, frankly, we have not been totally happy with any microcontroller out there.· So we took the time to carefully design a completely brand new controller and the concepts to go with it to give us and everyone else something that is hopefully a very refreshing experience.

    The thought of how something was done on product X or product Y never even entered our minds, actually.

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    --Jeff Martin

    · Sr. Software Engineer
    · Parallax, Inc.
    Jeff Martin
    Parallax Inc.
    (916) 624-8333 x3002
    jmartin@parallax.com
    http://www.parallax.com
  • william chanwilliam chan Posts: 1,315
    edited 2006-02-22 - 19:38:08
    Hi Jeff,

    Nice to meet you.
    I have also finally updated my picture.

    Is the Propeller's instruction set similar to the SX ?
    For example, is skip, sb, snb also available in the Propeller?

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  • Paul BakerPaul Baker Posts: 6,351
    edited 2006-02-22 - 19:46:31
    no they are different, there is no need for skipping instructions because every assembly instruction can be made conditionally executed on state of the status bits (there are 16 possible variations), essentially every instruction can be an optionally skipped instruction.

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  • william chanwilliam chan Posts: 1,315
    edited 2006-02-23 - 00:53:11
    Paul,

    How did you know so much about the Propeller?
    Did they consult you on the design as well?

    Are you going to the Propeller training?

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  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-23 - 01:45:04
    We invited a group of BASIC Stamp and SX "power users" to our office for a two-day introduction and training session for the Propeller.· You can see a picture of [noparse][[/noparse]part of] the group here: http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=40507

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • william chanwilliam chan Posts: 1,315
    edited 2006-02-23 - 02:49:33
    I thought the "training" was to be on March 9-10th 2006.

    Now is only Febuary 2006.

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  • Paul BakerPaul Baker Posts: 6,351
    edited 2006-02-23 - 16:01:28
    As Jon said, I was invited to the chip's introduction seminar, the other members you've seen here answering questions (Tracy and Martin) were also in attendance, in addition several people who have created products for Parallax (such as the RFID tag system) and a few key stamp in class educators attended. Im not sure what they have planned for future seminars, but I wouldn't be suprised if there were more. I feel very honored to have been invited, and got to finally meet the wonderful staff at Parallax (Jon Williams included).

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  • william chanwilliam chan Posts: 1,315
    edited 2006-02-25 - 11:27:54
    Paul,

    Which one in the photo is you?



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  • Paul BakerPaul Baker Posts: 6,351
    edited 2006-02-27 - 02:04:33
    I have my hand raised, and Im wearing a red long sleve dress shirt, Im somewhat obfuscated by the guy in front of me whose facing to the left.

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  • william chanwilliam chan Posts: 1,315
    edited 2006-02-27 - 02:46:04
    You look very young among all the "professors" there. smile.gif

    Are you also familiar with chip level design?

    I am only a board level guy.
    If I also want to be like Chip Gracey and start designing chips using Alterra,
    how long would the learning process take? Eight years?

    I am amazed at how Chip manages to make the transition in such a short time without guidance from a seasoned processor designer.
    I remember in 1990 when Sun's engineers promised a 33Mhz SPARK but could not deliver until 18 months later than projected.
    And that was only 33Mhz.... And those were very experienced semicond engineers, a lot of them....

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  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-27 - 08:40:02
    Chip does amazing things because he refuses to burden himself by the *rules* some many other insist on following.· That, and he's incredibly bright and·often works crazy hours.


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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Paul BakerPaul Baker Posts: 6,351
    edited 2006-02-27 - 15:16:57
    william chan said...
    You look very young among all the "professors" there. smile.gif

    Are you also familiar with chip level design?



    I was among the younger set of·people in attendance, but several were younger. Im 34, but look young for my age (most people guess·Im early to mid 20's). I am familiar with chip design, but nothing of the scale as the propeller.

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