Anant Agarwal, John Kubiatowicz, David Kranz, Beng-Hong Lim, Donald Yeung,
Godfrey D'Souza, and Mike Parkin. Sparcle: An Evolutionary
Processor Design for Large-Scale Multiprocessors. IEEE
Micro, pages 48-61, June 1993.
(pdf, compressed postscript)
Sparcle is a processor chip developed jointly by MIT, LSI Logic, and SUN Microsystems, by evolving an existing RISC architecture towards a processor suited for large-scale multiprocessors. Sparcle supports three multiprocessor mechanisms: fast context switching, fast user-level message handling, and fine-grain synchronization. The Sparcle effort demonstrates that RISC architectures coupled with a communications and memory management unit do not require major architectural changes to support multiprocessing efficiently.