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Essential Guide to Computing: The Story of Information Technology, The by E. Garrison Walters

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The Challenge of Multiprocessing

In Part 1 of this book, we talked about CPUs that are superscalar, which means that they use two or more pipelines to execute several instructions in parallel. This principle is one that can be easily extended from separate pipelines to separate CPUs, to encompass a series of CPUs operating in parallel. The resulting system is described as a multiprocessing system. While multiprocessing systems were still fairly rare by 2000, most experts expect them to be standard in servers, workstations, and even many desktops by 2002 or so.

The concept of multiprocessing is fairly straightforward, but implementing it is not. There are many hardware and software decisions to be made, each with its own set of tradeoffs. We'll ...

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