Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

First off, I'm not sure I'm asking this on the right site. Please let me know if my understanding is drastically wrong.

Concept 1: Computing largely consists of shifting around "one dimensional" streams of data and modifying/combining them in various ways. Sort of.

Concept 2: It is possible to design circuitry, using memristors/material implication, wherein logic and storage can both be implemented at once on the same circuitry via reconfigurable FPGA-like hardware. I'll call this a universal chip.

Concept 3: Hardware can be implemented to a purpose without classical "software;" i.e., a program can be implemented physically as hardwired circuits without the need for moving "one-dimensional" streams of code into and out of a cpu to be processed. I think this is called an ASIC.

Question: What is the term for implementing "programs" as Hardware Description Language files which, once downloaded from the internet/etc onto such a universal chip, would act as an ASIC, giving the raw speed of a custom-built chip with the flexibility of a piece of software? For example, this universal logic/storage chip would act as a "motherboard," to which all contained files and programs would be daughterboards.

This would simplify the hardware aspect: all interconnects would be realized as physical "software", reconfigurable and unconstrained by standards or formfactor. Also, assuming this chip to be the whole of the computer, this would create boundless programming oppourtunities: imagine being unconstrained by the data-stream model, instead being able to program in two or possibly three physical dimensions. This would result in orders of magnitude of speed increases, due to the lack of need for classical 'processing,' code retreival, instruction sets, etc. The program would be a processor itself, and would pull any potentially needed data from nearby in the chip. This would simplify software, because a large portion of a computer's software is for managing other software and hardware, both of which would be obsolete concepts. There would only be "hard-programs" and user data like documents and webpages.

This is where you say I've got it all wrong. Otherwise, is this a field of research, and does it have a name that I can use to further study the concept?

Thanks for bearing with me, lol. If there's a better place to ask this, lemme know.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Jens Erat, Kevin Panko, gronostaj, Excellll Aug 11 '14 at 13:45

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is not about computer hardware or software, within the scope defined in the help center." – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Jens Erat, gronostaj, Excellll
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Sounds like electronic engineering questions(more than computer science). In a university I know of, the electronic engineering department covered so much computing material that they merged with the Computer Science department. As to ASICS vs FPGA, that's very much an electronic question. There you could try the chat section but it requires a certain amont of rep. (20 or 200, or something, I don't recall). or you could just try posting your question there. – barlop Sep 14 '13 at 19:18
I vaguely remember two books one of them used software called xilinx it was fascinating and covered about some foundations of electronic circuits and computers. I don't recall the book. I think specifically the subject is Digital Systems Design . there was another book but i'm not sure. – barlop Sep 14 '13 at 19:22

The subject is Digital Systems Design, it's not really within what people here tend to know about. I only scraped the subject a tiny bit, long ago.

Digital Circuit Design is another one.

These kind of books Digital Design: Principles and Practices (Prentice Hall Xilinx design series) John F. Wakerly here on amazon

maybe A First Course in Digital Systems Design: An Integrated Approach
John P. Uyemura

I know the first book provides a good foundation to digital system design, and if I recall, a fascinating discussion of CMOS. The first book there mentions Xilinx. And if you use that it may be very interesting for you. And a link on the xilinx site mentions about FPGA and ASIC so I think it hits very much on the subject area you are asking about.

But I must say, the way you have worded your question(e.g. writing of programming in many dimensions), sounds a bit untechnical and sloppy, and these are technical subjects.

I don't know enough about FPGA, ASIC or Hardware Description Languages to comment on that other than the name of the subject as I have. I don't know what you mean re dimensions. As for streams of code moving. It's never that. Computers involve electricity going through circuits. Programs break into assembly language, which breaks into simple instructions you can build with logic gates.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .