Late last year we did an installment of Ask the Experts with ARM's Peter Greenhalgh, lead architect for the Cortex A53. The whole thing went so well, in no small part to your awesome questions, that ARM is giving us direct access to a few more key folks over the coming months.

Krisztián Flautner is Vice President of Research and Development at ARM, and as you can guess - he's focused on not the near term, but what's coming down the road for ARM. ARM recently celebrated its 50 billionth CPU shipment via its partners, well Krisztián is more focused on the technologies that will drive the next 100 billion shipments.

Krisztián holds PhD, MSE and BSE degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. He leads a global team that researches everything from circuits to processor/system architectures and even devices. And he's here to answer your questions.

If there's anything you want to ask the VP of R&D at ARM, this is your chance. Leave a comment with your question and Krisztián will go through and answer any he's able to answer. If you've got questions about process tech, Moore's Law, ARM's technology roadmap planning or pretty much anything about where ARM is going, ask away! 

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  • tipoo - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    What's your take on the impact of ISA on the overall CPU architecture? Is it still a big deal these days with millions of transistors surrounding it? Reply
  • KFlautner - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    That depends on what you mean by "big deal"? :)
    The ISA matters because it's a contract between a software ecosystem and silicon vendors. There are many ways of burdening an ISA with features that make one or both parties' lives difficult. To avoid this, ARM runs an Architecture Review Board which consists of both internal and external members. We keep on finding, that simplicity matters and deprecating features is as important as adding new ones.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Friday, June 6, 2014 - link

    This is exactly why you should be trying to deprecate ARMv7 ISA as soon as possible! So then you can only build pure ARMv8 chips, without the baggage of ARMv7. Instead, you keep building cores like Cortex A12 and A17. You need to be committed to ARMv8, and forget ARMv7. Reply
  • ComputationalScientist - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    One advantage of Intel architectures compared with ARM for scientific computing is higher precision and range floating point using IEEE 754-recommended extended precision. Floating point computing often requires internal computations at a higher precision and range than double to cater for ill-conditioned data and unstable algorithms e.g. tiny values in probability models in my work. Are there any plans to improve floating point precision in ARM cores ,e.g. with IEEE 128-bit binary floating point, to cater for scientific computing in the future? Reply
  • KFlautner - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    As far as I know Intel supports extended precision in the legacy sense but they don’t necessarily make it fast. At ARM, we don’t get requests for higher precision than what we already offer, even from people interested in building supercomputers. Also, it's important to note that ARM supports subnormal floating point operation in hardware, which is typically faster than what you find in most competitors’ chips. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    Very simple question.
    Now that ARM is on track for 64-bit, IMHO the next obvious requirement (in terms of visible API) is hardware TM. Can you let us know ARM's plans for this? Do you already have the instructions and their semantics defined?
    Reply
  • KFlautner - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    ARM is interested in many new technologies such as hardware support for TM but wants them to have a proven benefit commensurate with its cost to implement for ARM's target markets before we deploy the technology. For ARM's markets, the benefit of the technology is still to be proven, but we remain interested in the technology. Reply
  • BMNify - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    by "hardware TM" i assume he means Hardware transactional memory (controlling access to shared memory in concurrent computing., not the david may way:) not TM Hardware as in the ugly variety of door seals, closers on their site :)

    "ARM is interested in many new technologies " good i just noticed "UK: Plastic Logic" did some new Flexible OLED Screens and finally a partner program ,perhaps ARM can nip down the road and give them a leg up by doing a controller Ip for them and even help them with their questionable advertising :)
    http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/06/03/plasticlo...

    perhaps even get a selection/few pro bono Plastic Logic kit and make a slice to use it and give away as a prize or some such, the guy need help getting the word out it seems for a long time now, im a fan, but its taking far to long for them to provide super cheap consumer plastic displays for even DIY projects...
    Reply
  • sinPiEqualsZero - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    You hear a lot about how other companies are trying to replicate ARM's success in the power-efficient arena. Is the reverse true? That is, does ARM have any interest in broadening their product offerings to include processors of comparable power to desktop PCs? Reply
  • KFlautner - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    I would argue that everyone in the processor industry is now on the efficiency bandwagon. It's just that ARM has evolved under that efficiency pressure - due to its focus on the mobile industry - for longer than others. What differs between products is the market and the power budget available. Having a larger power budget doesn't mean that one can afford inefficient designs: the goal is still to get as much performance out of a given power budget as possible. If you take a look at our high-end cores, they are already desktop-class. However, the core isn't everything, our silicon partners need to see the business case for building desktop-oriented processors (with appropriate amount of in-chip caches, memory system, etc.) ... you can see this starting to happen in the server market now. Reply

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