The present state of electronic technology is such that factors
affecting computation speed have almost been minimised; switching for
instance is almost instantaneous. Electronic components are so good,
in fact, that the time taken for a logic signal to travel between two
points is now a significant factor of instruction times.
Clearly, with the actual physical size of components being very
small and the high circuit density, there is little scope for improving
computation speech significantly by such means as even denser circuitry
or still faster electronic components. Thus, development of faster
computers will require a new approach that depends on the imaginative
use of existing knowledge.
One such approach is to increase computation speed through
parallelism. Obviously, a parallel computer with p identical processors
is potentially p times as fast as a single computer, although this
limit can rarely be achieved.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.