Architect talks about China's Godson chip

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Chinese FlagThe EE Times is reporting this week that Wei-wu Hu, a professor at Beijing’s Institute of Computing Technology, gave a talk about the present and future of China’s homegrown chip at the annual Hot Chips conference. Hu’s paper focused on the high-end Godson 3B

5-nm STMicroelectronics process. The chip–which taped out in May and will be in silicon in September–measures 300 mm2 and delivers 128 gigaflops, Hu said.
The heart of the chip is the 64-bit, MIPS-compatible 464V core which sports a superscalar out-of-order pipeline capable of retiring four instructions per clock cycle. It supports 200 instructions to emulate the Intel x86.

The “V” in the core’s name indicates the latest twist in the Godson design, extensions for vector processing.

The core extends its previous 64-bit floating point unit with a 256-bit SIMD vector unit including eight 64-bit MACs. Engineers also created a unique interface to feed the chip with pre-formatted data.

Although the 3B is still in testing, its designers have high hopes for a supercomputing homerun

Hu showed several board-level examples of designs that will use the 3B in servers or as nodes in massively parallel supercomputing clusters. Earlier this year Shenzhen-based computer maker Dawning Information Industry Co. Ltd. created a petaflops system based on Intel and Nvidia processors and said its next generation will use the 16-core Godson 3C.
Hu suggested some of the Godson designs could hit performance levels of multiple petaflops—potentially putting China’s designers in the number one slot on the list of the world’s Top 500 supercomputers for the first time.

More in the article, which is a good read for catching up on the high end of China’s indigenous technology initiative.


  1. 8 64bit MACs but a 256bit =4x64b vector unit? Somehow it doesn’t compute. The quad-core Godson-3 chip (without the vector addon) was described in the March/April 2009 issue of IEEE Micro where the additional x86 emulation instructions are explained.