Monday, April 12, 2010

The End of Load-Store Computing Is Coming

It is in the news that HP scientists is getting close to be able to produce devices based on memory resistors. One of them, Stan Williams, claims that we will see devices based on memory resistors working better than current NAND based devices in three years.

This is the beginning of a revolution. Besides the fact that
memory resistors may potentially be used as more than just storage devices, fast static memory will change how computer software operate.

Currently, all application software, even including operating system and hardware drivers, follow a "load - execute - store" model. Data is loaded from permanent storage into RAM, processed, and then stored back to
permanent storage. Faster static memory will make this model obsolete. A new model should be a "go to - execute" model. Nothing needs to be loaded. Software can execute exactly where it is stored because there will be no such thing as RAM anymore. Results need not be stored, because the results are already stored where they are in memory!

Because so much of our current software manage the load - store process of data, a new generation of software simply using "go to" without load/store will be needed to efficiently utilize the new hardware. All OS's, such as UNIX, LINUX, and Windows will all need to be re-written. After that, we will look back at the current
"load - store" model software age as the "stone age".

Of course, some moving around of data will still be necessary from time to time, and data access to slow legacy storage will still need to follow the old model, at least partially. But that is different from the way things are now because to the new computers, connections to these devices will be treated almost like the way current computers handle phone dial-up modem connections. These devices can be "memory-mapped", but they are essentially "shadowed" with local static memory. So the loading process become a "shadowing process".

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