John A. Watlington MIT Media Laboratory
December 13, 1999
This thesis proposes a mechanism, streams, for overcoming many of the problems associated with the parallel processing of media. A programming model and runtime system using the stream mechanism, MagicEight, is also proposed. MagicEight supports medium to coarse grain parallelism, using a hybrid dataflow model of execution. Multidimensional streams of data elements provide a scalable means of both obtaining parallelism and ameliorating an indeterminate memory access latency. The machine architectures which MagicEight is intended to support range from a single general purpose processor to heterogenous multiprocessor systems of two to two hundred processors interconnected by communications channels of varying capabilities. In the multiprocessor case, some of the processors may be specialized -- capable of executing a restricted set of algorithms much more efficiently than a general purpose processor.