#4: Grovercomp for Anodyne
What’s it all for, anyway?
Since I don’t have any new photos for you this week, I thought I’d do something a bit different and explain one of the reasons Charles and I need Grovercomp.
Since we met, there has been a galactic collision of our lives’ work. Right now this is a nebulous soup of stardust, but in time it will reform and accumulate into what we call Project Anodyne.
Our main task as the masters of this new universe is to accelerate its accretion to within our lifetimes. We don’t want to have done every detail of this without collation, ageing out and leaving the corpus to be reconstructed by future minds, if it isn’t lost entirely. (Yes, that is a lot more common than you may think.) Besides to enjoy the material rewards of our ingenuity, we also see it as a moral imperative because it is a higher reflection of the same underlying value of building things to last that colours so much of what we have spoken of in computer science.
To achieve this goal we have to scope it and curate it somewhat for consumption by existing systems in our society. In particular, this means focussing on a particular chip design that comprises part of this system, the so-called Manitowoc microarchitecture, and transforming it modestly to be sold to the United States government. The design of these chips is highly unusual, but they are thousands of times more powerful (i.e. energy-efficient) at general-purpose computing than anything else on the market today. They approach the same order of magnitude of efficiency that tensor cores do, but with general-purpose computing instead of merely massive matrix multiplication.
Grovercomp will be built to provide a basis on top of which a Manitowoc chip can be realistically simulated. It’s just not possible to vindicate the designs without taking larger intellectual liberties on normal computers or FPGAs, but with Grovercomp in hand, we can approximate it much more accurately, just at a fraction of the speed. Upon running these simulations, we will take the results and apply for a grant programme with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, otherwise known as DARPA. With a successful application in hand as a corporate resume, and the grant money applied towards a fabrication run at TSMC, we will attempt to sell these uniquely powerful chips to government organisations, in the spirit of DARPA itself.
The path forward from there is as clear as water, and as clear as mud. We will attempt to build the Anodyne computer spoken of in the original project pitch, and sell it to the general public with the productivity software in hand.
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