"What observers think the new chip can do has been bandied about
the Internet for some time now (including our story on Transmeta
back in August). In sum, Transmeta's Crusoe chip is said to be
based on relatively simple hardware that is capable of very high
clock speeds. How so? By using what they call "code morphing
software" and a "morph host" to outstrip current processors that
use increasingly complex hardware in an attempt to reach
ever-faster clock speeds."
"While not for the faint of heart, Transmeta's microprocessor
patent (go here to get to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Web site)
more or less lays out exactly what the company has done and what
the company thinks its new processor can do. An excellent summary
of this information appeared at The Register, noting in particular
the role of code morphing software in improving processor speed. In
a sense, Transmeta's designs are reminiscent of the notion of an
intelligent chip that uses special software to help the processor
"determine" opportunities for "acceleration enhancement techniques"
which the software itself carries out--for example, telling the
difference between memory and memory-mapped I/O and addressing
problems with exceptions and errors."
"Thus, Transmeta believes it has effectively attacked two of
the biggest problems of designing faster than state of the art
microprocessors: speed and cost. By using code morphing software,
the chip needs less complicated (and thus less expensive)
hardware. And, as mentioned above, that same software is
responsible for clean-up operations within the chip that allow the
processor to operate in a less fettered manner."
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