Friday, March 1, 2013
SIMD AND MIMD in modern use
The first widely-deployed desktop SIMD was with Intel's MMX extensions to the x86 architecture in 1996. This sparked the introduction of the much more powerful AltiVec system in the Motorola PowerPC's and IBM's POWER systems. Intel responded in 1999 by introducing the all-new SSE system. Since then, there have been several extensions to the SIMD instruction sets for both architectures.
All of these developments have been oriented toward support for real-time graphics, and are therefore oriented toward processing in two, three, or four dimensions, usually with vector lengths of between two and sixteen words, depending on data type and architecture. When new SIMD architectures need to be distinguished from older ones, the newer architectures are then considered "short-vector" architectures, as earlier SIMD and vector supercomputers had vector lengths from 64 to 64,000. A modern supercomputer is almost always a cluster of MIMD machines, each of which implements (short-vector) SIMD instructions.
**A modern desktop computer is often a multiprocessor MIMD machine where each processor can execute short-vector SIMD instructions.