Calculation Models


Traditional model

From the materials of the previous section, it is clear that approaches to solving programmer tasks using different languages ​​differ from each other. Sometimes these differences are not fundamental and come down only to the textual representation of the program, and sometimes they are quite substantial. If the differences are not fundamental, then we say that languages ​​have a similar model of computation.

The computation model of a language does not necessarily coincide with the computation model embedded in the equipment. These models diverge if the machine itself has a traditional architecture. Moreover, even machines of a different architecture are programmatically modeled on machines of traditional architecture. In the following, we will use the term traditional languages, meaning by this languages, the computation model of which is inherited from the traditional architecture of machines. The architecture first used by Konrad von Zuse 1 was still at the turn of the 1930s – 40s. XX century., In a slightly modified form is still adopted for almost all computers.

This computing system architecture has the following three elements:

  1. Memory designed to store arbitrary values. Values ​​at the hardware level are represented as sequences of bits.
  2. A processor capable of executing instructions, i.e., interpret sequences of bits as instructions for activating the actions prescribed by these instructions.
  3. A control device capable of specifying the commands that the processor must perform (sometimes the control device is considered to be an integral part of the processor).

These elements have the following features.

  1. Uniformity of memory . The memory of the machine is considered as a vector consisting of identical cells capable of receiving (from the processor) any values .

    The value in the cell, from the point of view of the processor, is a sequence of bits of a fixed length without any restrictions.

  2. Linear addressing . Memory cells are identified by addresses : numbers from zero to the maximum possible value for a given machine (denoting the last cell). Addresses serve as pointers for the processor, from where to extract or where to put the value.

    From the homogeneity of the memory it follows that the commands and data (processed values) are located in a single shared memory and are equally addressed.

  3. Passivity of memory . The memory cell always contains some value. The value obtained by the cell can not be changed otherwise than when executing a special processor command intended for this action - the command to send , or assign , the value. The variable cell is indicated by its address.
  4. CPU activity . The processor always executes some instruction , encoded by a sequence of bits in a cell and retrieved from memory. Commands can have operands , i.e., they, as a rule, indicate the addresses of the cells on which the prescribed actions are performed. It is the processor that, in accordance with what command it has to execute, interprets the value of the operand cell as a number, symbol, address in memory, etc. The number of operands of the command is called its address and the targeting of most commands is the machine's address. One-, two-, and (less often) three-address machines are distinguished, as well as machines with non-fixed targeting.
  5. Centralization of management . The control device contains the address of the command assigned to be executed by the processor. If this command is a command to transfer control, when it is executed, the address of the cell containing the command to be executed after the current one is determined, and this address becomes the new contents of the control device. Otherwise, the address of the command assigned by the processor to execute the next one is the current contents of the control unit, incremented by one (the next command executed is contained in the memory cell following the current one). Thus, the control device can be modeled as a register, called a command counter . This register is modified automatically or by control transfer commands 2 .
  6. The presence of a communication channel between the memory and the processor . To transfer data or commands between the memory and the processor, special equipment, called a communication channel, is used . The channel is operated when required:
    1. give the next command to the processor for execution (activated by the control device);
    2. get operands to execute the command (activated by the processor);
    3. change the value of the cell when the command is executed (activated by the processor).

Such architecture will be called traditional .

The traditional machine architecture is specified for the respective application environment. In particular, it is always complemented by input and output devices.

In fig. 2.1 shows the interaction of devices of a traditional machine.

  Calculation Models

Fig. 2.1. Scheme for the implementation of a two-address command on a traditional architecture machine

In the team KO 1 O 2 K is the operation code, O 1 and O 2 are the addresses of the operands. The team is located at address 3. The solid arrows indicate the transmission of information through the channel. The dashed arrows indicate actions that are carried out immediately before the command is executed (a request for the command code at address 3) and after it (an indication of the need to request a command following in the memory of the executable).

Traditional computer architecture was formed in the conditions of unreliability of physical elements. In particular, for this reason, a rather primitive method of control was chosen: transfer to the next command or to the command at the forcibly assigned address. And in the future, despite the emergence of a qualitatively new elemental base, the rapid growth in the production of machines of this type prevented a change in architecture.

There is a reason due to which the increase in the efficiency of traditional machines is fundamentally limited. Increasing the speed of the processor as an active piece of equipment leads to an increase in the counting rate only within the limits determined by the speed of the communication channel between the processor and memory: if it is low, the processor will be idle waiting for the next instruction, operands, or completion of assignment 3 . The growth rate of the processor speed is higher than that of the communication channel.

These fundamentally insurmountable limitations of the classical computational model were pointed out by Backus in the mid-seventies (Backus's Turing lecture [35]), calling the memory communication channel with the processor a bottleneck (literally bottleneck ) of the traditional model.

The traditional architecture of machines is least related to a specific class of tasks. Rather, it is associated with the two most common and most low-level programming styles: structural and automatic programming.

By programming style, we mean an internally conceptually consistent set of tools based on some logic of program construction. Theoretical studies of the last decades have shown that different logics of building programs correspond to different classes of tasks and methods, and these logics are incompatible with each other. Logic (and, accordingly, programming styles) provide the most common shell, independent of specific subject areas and even of specific methods. As soon as we understand the peculiarities of the methods, the styles begin to concretize further. So, known to you (since it is he who is taught as the only one existing in all modern textbooks on the beginnings of programming), the structural style is specified in a cyclical or recursive version (hypostasis).

For different styles, the logic of construction is incompatible, so before discussing styles in the system, we will get acquainted with examples of the implementation of different styles. But even before that, it is advisable to consider other machine architectures.

Modifications to traditional architecture

After it became clear that the traditional architecture impedes the performance gain, it began to change. Below are the most common modifications:

  1. Introduced cells inside the processor with special addressing that do not require memory access. With their help, you can reduce the targeting of machine commands, transfer intermediate results of calculations from team to team, and perform other local actions. These are called fast processor registers .
  2. Commands encoding fairly complex operations on operands appear.
  3. The processor is supplied with memory for commands (instruction cache ) and for data ( data cache ). The instruction cache is populated simultaneously with the execution of the current instruction by those instructions that, as it seems to the processor, will be executed after the current one. The data cache duplicates the values, which, as it seems to the processor, will be the operands of the following commands.
  4. Memory is divided into access levels: processor registers; quick access area with direct addressing; the area whose addressing requires prior indication of a certain segment whose cells are addressed directly, etc.

The usefulness of such modifications is obvious. But caching, other changes of the classical canonical model, and even processors, are only half measures that allow to expand, but not to eliminate, the bottleneck.

Attention !

An important consequence of the traditional structure of a computer is the following: in a machine program, all actions and conditions are local .

To improve the efficiency of the equipment, sometimes the principle of memory uniformity is discarded. We mention two architectural modifications of the traditional machine.

Some (primarily specialized) machines provide for explicit allocation in the memory of data areas and command areas. In the normal mode of program execution, the processor is not allowed to write anything into the command area, as a result, the reliability of the programs increases. To record something in the command area, you need to enable the corresponding mode 4 by hardware.

But the separation between the teams and the data is rather coarse. It is useful to consider the architecture in which the so-called tagging is proposed. Its meaning lies in the fact that special digits are allocated in the cells (main memory), called the tag , which indicate the type of value stored in the rest of the value (see Fig. 2.2).

  Calculation Models

Fig. 2.2. Cell structure during tagging

Hardware tagging provides the following benefits.

  • At the hardware level, additional control of the correctness of the calculations takes place and error diagnostics are improved.
  • Elementary operations become more adequate to the data (for example, addition is modified in accordance with the types of operands: integer, real, references). The execution time of programs is reduced compared to traditional machines of the appropriate power.

In linguistic terms, tagging is expressed as dynamic (determined when the program is executed) data typing. In this regard, tagging in hardware was about ten years ahead of the first experimental attempts at dynamic typing in programming languages. Now dynamic typing, from a logical point of view completely analogous to tagging, is one of the tools of object-oriented programming.

In C, tagged data corresponds to a description of a structure similar to this:

  struct tagged
  int type_tag;
   int x;
   float y;

In Pascal, a tagged cell can be represented by the following variant structure:

 case tag: Boolean of
  true: (i: integer);
  false: (r: real)

Tagging is great with structured programming, and therefore is almost always used in conjunction with a modification of the addressing and memory structure called stack architecture. When implementing high-level languages ​​in modern programming systems, a context structure is almost always created.

In the stack architecture of the machine, the physical memory is already organized as a structured stack of contexts (see Fig. 2.3).

  Calculation Models

Fig. 2.3. Stack and contexts

The stack grows down. The current context is called Context 0. The lowest unit on the stack is the current result. The stack is structured as texttex. Each substlet includes data for a program block. Thus, each of the sub-codsets sets the context for the calculations in the corresponding block. At the beginning of each substep there is its marker , which contains all the necessary official information about the substeck, in particular, a link to the previous marker.

For an abstract calculator with a stack, at the beginning of processing each construction, you need to memorize in the stack the current instance of the context state. Then you can perform the usual steps to calculate the structure.

The stack architecture was embodied in the command systems of the machines of the Barroughs and Elbrus series. They perfectly proved themselves to be machines for complex demanding computations, but they could not stand the competition with the PC armada, which were crushed by their number and cheapness.

There is an opposite direction for the development of equipment. In machines with the so-called RISC architecture, machine commands are extremely simple, but in the semi-permanent part of RAM there are subroutines for commands of the “normal” or even “high” level, so that, in principle, the RISC processor can emulate 5 machines of different architecture depending on the mode . For example, such a system was used in the machines of the famous Power PC series - Power Mac, which could perform for both the user and the programmer both as a PC and as a Macintosh. This series suffered a commercial failure rather because of mistakes in promotion to the market than because of the lack of real merits.

Unconventional Architecture

Cool thought. He liked this. He decided to think again at his leisure. Russian anecdote

Historical excursion

During the Great French Revolution, in connection with the introduction of the metric system of measures, and to improve the quality of artillery and fleet, it became necessary to quickly and qualitatively recount many tables: artillery, navigation, astronomical, geodesic, etc.

The solution of this problem (the mastermind and organizer of the work was an eminent mathematician and administrator L. Carnot) was brilliant from the point of view of conceptual and organizational elaboration. First, using interpolation methods, all functions were replaced by their piecewise-polynomial approximations that have no discontinuities (the modern term is spline). Polynomials can be calculated by the finite difference method; therefore, the algorithm for calculating a polynomial was distributed over additions, subtractions and a small number of multiplications of the constants. To organize such calculations, two companies of parallel working literate soldiers under the guidance of mathematicians were used. The same calculations were carried out by the companies independently. Each soldier received arguments from the two comrades indicated to him, added or subtracted them (the action was predetermined in advance and did not change). The most competent soldiers received an argument from one comrade and multiplied it by a given constant. At the command, the results of the actions were transmitted further. Mathematicians-wardens checked the results for plausibility and recalculated them selectively. In cases of discrepancies in the results of the mouth account was made again. Thus, the tables were recalculated with virtually no errors, with minimal cost, high accuracy and in the shortest possible time. As a result, the artillery tables of the French army remained the best for more than five years, until the Russian gunners under the leadership of c. Arakcheev did not consider them even better 6 .

So in the first historical case, when a significant amount of computation was industrialized, the computation model was very skillfully chosen.

It was this example that Charles Babbage was guided by when creating the first software-controlled mechanical computer, since it was impossible to achieve an acceptable speed on mechanical elements without parallelizing the calculations. High-speed, but unreliable elements of the first computers practically forced to abandon the parallel model of computing and move on to a more primitive sequential model. All teaching and software began to evolve with a focus on sequential computing. And when the possibility of electronic implementation of parallel computing appeared, neither mathematicians nor programmers were ready for it.

First of all, you can just have multiple processors. Multiprocessing can be used in several ways.

  1. You can increase the reliability of calculations. In some onboard machines, designed for long-term maintenance-free operation, three processors count each successive command. Thus, the failure of one of them is not terrible.
  2. You can calculate multiple programs at once. In principle, the highest performance of a machine with several processors is achieved precisely when each of them works with its own program located in its own memory area. В современных машинах по сути дела именно так совмещается работа центрального процессора и устройств управления вводом, выводом и отображением информации. Но переносу этого принципа на саму архитектуру машины мешает привычка к рассмотрению ее как устройства для выполнения непосредственно нужной в данный момент задачи.
  3. В связи с этим имеется, насколько известно автору, ни разу не использованное решение (предложенное автором еще в начале 70-х гг., но тогда отвергнутое). Поскольку каналы связи с памятью являются неустранимым узким местом, можно было бы снабдить процессор несколькими каналами и одновременно выполнять на одном процессоре несколько независимых программ. Вследствие этого можно было бы обойтись маленьким кэшем, состоящим из действительно нужных команд и данных (следующих команд и данных каждого из процессов).
  4. И, наконец, можно попытаться использовать несколько процессоров для одного и того же процесса над общей памятью. В этом случае нужны изощренные алгоритмы кэширования и распределения программ между процессорами, а производительность растет всего лишь пропорционально корню квадратному от числа процессоров (и то в лучшем случае!) Получается, как зачастую бывает в современной информатике, круто, но весьма нерационально.

    Прямое развитие данной идеи наталкивается также на массу тонких вопросов синхронизации. Простейший и наиболее очевидный из конфликтов синхронизации - попытка одновременной записи результатов нескольких команд в одну ячейку памяти, поэтому присваивания становятся тормозом на пути программирования.

Рассмотрим теперь те архитектуры, где до известной степени ликвидируется централизованное управление и появляется возможность глубокого распараллеливания вычислений.

Здесь стоит обратить внимание на два взаимосвязанных момента. Во-первых, часто нет нужды в хранении промежуточных результатов счета и, как следствие, потребность в пассивной памяти существенно снижается. Во-вторых, ликвидируется примитивное устройство управления, а его роль принимают на себя элементы оборудования, отвечающие за выяснение готовности команд к выполнению. Это - одна из схем, которая подчиняет управление потокам данных (data flow). Такие схемы противопоставляются управляющим потокам (control flow) традиционных вычислений.

Рассмотрим гипотетическую схему машины, управляемой потоком данных. Каждая команда имеет ссылку на те команды, от которых она зависит ( предпосылки команды). Если выполнены все предпосылки, команда имеет право выполниться. Например, рассмотрим следующую схему.

  Calculation Models

Fig. 2.4. Data stream

На схеме вершины означают команды. Каждая команда зависит не более чем от двух, но зависеть от нее может сколько угодно других.

Представленная идея неоднократно воплощалась в оборудовании (так называемые машины потоков данных). Но каждый раз узким местом для подобных машин оказывалось несоответствие стиля программ, требуемого для них, тем стилям, к которым привыкли программисты. Как следствие, в каждом из таких процессоров делались грубые системные ошибки, приводившие к затруднениям в программировании, а также к понижению скорости и гибкости вычислений. Тем не менее поскольку скорость света очень скоро поставит предел механическому увеличению пропускной способности каналов, к подобным схемам придется вернуться на другом уровне.

Конечно же, при реализации идеи возникают сложности. Пару из них демонстрирует следующий поток.

  Calculation Models

Fig. 2.5. Поток данных с взаимодействующими циклами

В потоке имеются два цикла, подготавливающие данные друг для друга. Возникает вопрос, а если один из циклов вторично подошел к точке, где требуются данные из другого, не устарели ли уже имеющиеся данные и не нужно ли подождать, пока они обновятся? Далее, здесь видно, что инициализацию потока данных часто необходимо выделять в самостоятельный блок, поскольку формально вычислениеобоих циклов просто не сможет начаться.

Машины потоков данных уже несколько десятилетий используются на практике, так называемые суперЭВМ считают вычислительные задачи колоссальной трудоемкости (например, метеорологические). В подобных задачах, как правило, вычисление может быть записано в матричной алгебре, и новые матрицы строка за строкой вычисляются по старым. Таким образом, можно организовать конвейер , когда элементы целого вектора данных параллельно считаются по элементам предшествующего вектора, а переход к следующему происходит, когда все новые элементы посчитаны (так что вопрос о старении данных решается радикально: все, что использовалось для предыдущего вектора, по умолчанию считается устаревшим для следующего). Особенно хорошо конвейер работает, когда подпрограммы вычисления для каждого из элементов массива практически не изменяются (конечно же, для разных элементов они могут быть разные), посколькуинициализация процесса занимает много времени и сил. Конвейер с 1024 процессорами увеличивает производительность вычислений для некоторых реальных задач примерно в 300 раз, и для многих приблизительно в 100 раз. Первой серийной суперЭВМ, успешно применившейконвейерную организацию, стала система машин Cray.

Одной из особенностей машин потоков данных является повышение активности памяти, в которой размещаются команды и их операнды. Поэтому пути можно пойти еще дальше, сделав всю память активной. Во избежание полной анархии, память обычно имеет общее устройство управления, задающее одну команду (или несколько команд, в зависимости от какого-то быстро проверяемого условия), которую выполняют все ячейки ( ассоциативная память ). История реализации этой идеи аналогична истории машин потоков данных: аппаратные предпосылки есть, но эффективных способов программирования нет.

Несмотря на очевидные преимущества для отдельных классов задач других моделей вычислений и на очевидную неэффективность классической модели вычислений, не происходит переход к другим, более перспективным с точки зрения ускорения счета, моделям. Why? Это очень непростой вопрос, связанный как со сложившимися традициями, так и с огромным грузом накопленного программного обеспечения. В частности, другие модели вычислений, очевидно, не универсальны, ориентированы на некоторые классы задач, а иллюзия универсальности, основанная на примитивно истолкованной теореме об универсальном алгоритме, сопутствует традиционной модели вычислений. Но, пожалуй, более всего консерватизм обусловлен тем, что сегодняшняя армия программистов воспитана на традиционной модели, и она уже не в состоянии перестроиться.

Уже в машине потоков данных мы видим, что приказ выполнить следующую команду может быть заменен на разрешение ее выполнить. Таким образом, в программировании имеется возможность перехода от повелительного наклонения к изъявительному. Реализация идеи внедрения изъявительного наклонения в языки программирования возможна по следующим направлениям:

  • Системы продукций . Соотношения записываются как правила вывода предложения в некоторой грамматической или логической форме. Обрабатываемые данные сопоставляются с шаблонами, задаваемыми частями правил, отвечающими за распознавание ситуации, когда правило может быть применено. Соответствие данных шаблону трактуется как разрешение применить данное правило. Применение правила состоит в замене выделенного при сопоставлении фрагмента данных на что-то другое. Однократное выполнение такой замены трактуется как атомарный акт вычисления.
  • Systems of functions . A program is a relationship between functions, interconnected arguments, which, in turn, can be functions. Thus, it is possible to use the function. Argument readiness is interpreted as a function calculation resolution .
  • Switching systems . An element of the system is a vertex of a graph with input and output places. Entrance places serve as the ends of arcs, and days off, respectively, their beginnings. Arcs are the channels of transmission of values. The vertices, in turn, may have an internal graph structure, and so on, by recursion. The program is a graph with two selected vertices, one of which has no input places ( generator of processed data), and the second has no output places (result recipient ). An elementary calculation on a graph can be activated when values ​​arrive at all vertex inputs, and in this case, either predetermined actions are performed (when the vertex is atomic), or the values ​​are passed along the internal structure to the nested vertices. The result of the calculation is the values ​​at the output locations.

    The method of transferring data and activating calculations in a switching system can be considered as one of the implementations of data flow in a system of functions. In particular, if a graph has no cycles, then the switching system becomes a form of representation of a non-recursive system of functions. If the graph of the switching system contains cycles, then it can be interpreted as a recursive system of functions. Such a system can theoretically be represented as an infinite acyclic graph.

  • Associative systems . The elements of the system are active data, which are pairs: (value, key) Pairs that have the same key are joined and used as arguments of the action encoded by the key. The action algorithm can be defined in any style (for example, within the framework of traditional programming), its result for the system is a set of pairs generated during a local action, and the initial arguments are destroyed. It is easy to see that an associative system can be considered as another form of switching system, and in terms of the possibilities offered for programming, they are theoretically equivalent. However, this form corresponds to a different view on the described calculations, which is better suited, in particular, for working with knowledge bases 7 .
  • Axiomatic systems . If the system of identifications and substitutions is fixed for entire classes of problems and subject domains, then we work in a fixed calculus class, and the task of describing knowledge and preferences in a fixed language comes to the fore. Knowledge and preferences are written in the form of axioms . Thus, formally, axiomatic systems are a special case of sentence, but fixed replacement rules allow you to move from a general step-by-step simulation of symbolic transformations to an immeasurably more effective conclusion when the whole system of transformations is planned right away 8 .

    In the case of the most common classical logic and the language of the predicate calculus, or some of its extensions to the axiom system, you can look at the description of the subject area (or, equivalently, at specifying the relations between the data). Computational actions in such a system are activated by requests, the purpose of which is to derive some formula (which for classical logic and elementary formulas corresponds to the conclusion of truth or the falsity of some fact; such a conclusion can no longer be called a test, since it is not an elementary operation). A programmer in such a system is usually not interested in the method of output, but only in its feasibility.

Everything described above, if it can today be implemented in equipment, is extremely detrimental and private. But back in the 60s. It became clear in the twentieth century that software shielded the physical structure of a computer so strongly that for all users and most programmers the computer together with the basic software is a single system. In this regard, they increasingly talk about the programming system as a machine. For example, the implementation of the Java language is determined by a Java machine, in terms of which all calculations are understood. Quite often, such a software machine that implements a certain model of computing served as the basis for the hardware implementation of the key features of this model. For example, Algol-machine formed the basis of computers with stack architecture and tagging.


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Programming Styles and Techniques

Terms: Programming Styles and Techniques